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Full text of "Imagination and fancy : or, selections from the English poets, illustrative of those first requisites of their art, with markings of the best passages, critical notices of the writers, and an essay in answer to the question "What is poetry?""

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 




IMAGINATION AND FANCY 



OR 



SELECTIONS FROM THE ENGLISH POETS, 



JHlustratfbe of tjiose jjfrst 3?rqufsftes of tljefr &rt; 



WITH MARKINGS OF THE BEST PASSAGES, CRITICAL NOTICES 
OP THE WRITERS, 



AND AN ESSAY IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

"WHAT IS POETRY?" 

BY 

LEIGH HUNT. 

NEW EDITION, COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME. 



NEW YORK: 
GEORGE P. PUTNAM, 155 BROADWAY. 

1848. 

- . . 



. . - 



• • • - - . 



ft 



CONTENTS. 



 



Page 

PREFACE ... iii. 

| AN ANSWEB TO THE QUESTION, "WHAT IS POETEY V . . 1 

SELECTIONS FROM SPENSER, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE . . 49 

ARCHIMAGO'S HERMITAGE AND THE HOUSE OF MORPHEUS . 54 

THE CAVE OF MAMMtJf AND GARDEN OF PROSERPINE . . 62 

A GALLERY OF PICTURES FROM SPENSER ... .72 

(Spenser considered as the Poet of the Painters.) 

CHARISSA, OR CHARITY ... 77 

HOPE ... 78 

CUPID USURPING THE THRONE OF JUPITER . . . .78 

£&MARRIAGE PROCESSION OF THE THAMES AND MEBWAY . . 79 

CJSSIR GUYON BINDING FUROR . . 80 

UNA, OR FAITH IN DISTRESS ....... 80 

OS JUPITER AND MAIA 82 

^r, NIGHT AND THE WITCH DUESSA 83 

3 VENUS IN SEARCH OF CUPID, COMING TO DIANA . . .85 

MAY 86 

AN ANGEL WITH A PILGRIM AND A FAINTING KNIGHT . . 87 

AURORA AND TITHONUS ........ 88 

THE BRIDE AT THE ALTAR 89 

A NYMPH BATHING .89 

E CAVE OF DESPAIR 90 

A KNIGHT IN BRIGHT ARMOR, LOOKING INTO A CAVE . . 91 

MALBECCO SEES HELLENORE DANCING WITH THE SATYRS . 92 
LANDSCAPE, WITH DAMSELS CONVEYING A WOUNDED SQUIRE ON 

HIS HORSE 93 

THE NYMPHS AND GRACES DANCING TO A SHEPHERD'S PIPE; 

OR, APOTHEOSIS OF A POET'S MISTRESS ... 93 

I 27 




IV 



CONTENTS. 



A PLUME OF FEATHERS AND AN ALMOND TREE 
ENCHANTED MUSIC 



SELECTIONS FROM MARLOWE, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE 
the jew of Malta's idea of wealth 
a vision of helen .... 
mythology and court amusements 
beauty beyond expression 
the passionate shepherd to his love 

SELECTIONS FROM SHAKSPEARE AVITH CRITICAL NOTICE 

WHOLE STORY OF THE TEMPEST 

MACBETH AND THE WITCHES 

THE QUARREL OF OBERON AND TITANIA 

THE BRIDAL HOUSE BLESSED BY THE FAIRIES 

LOVERS AND MUSIC ..... 

ANTONY AND THE CLOUDS .... 

YOUNG WARRIORS ...... 

IMOGEN IN BED ...... 

SELECTIONS FROM BEN JONSON, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE 

TO CYNTHIA ; THE MOON ...... 

THE LOVE-MAKING OF LUXURY 



Page 
. 95 

. 96 

. 97 
. 100 
. 102 
103 
. 103 
. 104 



• 100 

. 108 

. 116 

. 121 

, 130 

. 131 

. 136 

. 137 

. 138 

. 140 
. 142 
. 142 



TOWERING SENSUALITY 143 

THE WITCH 145 

A MEETING OF WITCHES 146 

A CATCH OF SATYR3 148 



SELECTIONS FROM BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER, WITH CRITICAL 

NOTICE • 150 

MELANCHOLY ... 152 

A SATYR PRESENTS A BASKET OF FRUIT TO THE FAITHFUL 

SHEPHERDESS .......... 153 

A SPOT FOR LOVE TALES 155 

MORNING 155 

THE POWER OF LOVE . ....... 156 

INVOCATION TO SLEEP 157 

SELECTIONS FROM MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER, WITH 

CRITICAL NOTICE 15S 

FLIGHT OF WITCHES .162 



CONTENTS. t 



Page. 

THE CHRISTIAN LADY AND THE ANGEL .... 164 

LADIES DANCING .......... 166 

APRIL AND WOMEN'S TEARS , ... 167 

DEATH . 167 

PATIENCE * 167 

A WICKED DREAM ........ 168 

NATURAL DEATH .... 169 

FUNERAL DIRGE 170 

DISSIMULATION 170 

BEAUTEOUS MORAL EXAMPLE 171 

UNLOVELINESS OF FROWNING ....... 171 

SELECTIONS FROM MILTON, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE . . . 172 

SATAN'S RECOVERY FROM HIS DOWNFALL 174 

THE FALLEN ANGELS GATHERED AGAIN TO WAR . . .175 

VULCAN ... 177 

THE FALLEN ANGELS HEARD RISING FROM COUNCIL . . 177 

SATAN ON THE WING FOR EARTH . . . . . .178 

THE MEETING OF SATAN AND DEATH ..... 178 

L' ALLEGRO 180 

IL PENSEROSO 186 

LYCIDAS 191 

COM US THE SORCERER ......... 199 

SELECTIONS FROM COLERIDGE, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE . 202 

LOVE ; OR, GENEVIEVE ...... . 207 

KUBLA KHAN 210 

YOUTH AND AGE . . - 212 

THE HEATHEN DIVINITIES MERGED INTO ASTROLOGY . . 213 

WORK WITHOUT HOPE ......... 214 

SELECTIONS FROM SHELLEY, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE . . 215 

TO A SKYLARK 218 

A GARISH DAY 223 

CONTEMPLATION OF VIOLENCE 224 

A ROCK AND CHASM 224 

LOVELINESS INEXPRESSIBLE ........ 225 

EXISTENCE IN SPACE . 225 

DEVOTEDNESS UNREQUIRING 225 



vi CONTENTS. 

Page. 

TO A LADY WITH A GUITAR 226 

MUSIC, MEMORY, AND LOVE . 229 

SELECTIONS FROM KEATS, WITH CRITICAL NOTICE . . . 230 

THE EVE OF ST. AGNES 233 

LONELY SOUNDS ... 249 

ORION 249 

CIRCE AND HER VICTIMS 249 

A BETTER ENCHANTRESS IMPRISONED IN THE SHAPE OF A SER- 
PENT 250 

SATURN DETHRONED 250 

THE VOICE OF A MELANCHOLY GODDESS SPEAKING TO SATURN. 251 

A FALLEN GOD 251 

OTHER TITANS FALLEN . .... 251 

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE .... ... 252 

SONNET ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER . . 254 



PREFACE 



This book is intended for all lovers of poetry and the sis- 
ter arts, but more especially for those of the most poetical 
sort, and most especially for the youngest and the oldest : 
for as the former may incline to it for information's sake, 
the latter will perhaps not refuse it their good-will for the 
sake of old favorites. The Editor has often wished for 
such a book himself; and as nobody will make it for him, 
he has made it for others. 

It was suggested by the approbation which the readers 
of a periodical work bestowed on some extracts from the 
poets, commented, and marked with italics, on a principle 
of co-perusal, as though the Editor were reading the pas- 
sages in their company. Those readers wished to have 
more such extracts ; and here, if they are still in the mind, 
they now possess them. The remarks on one of the 
poems that formed a portion of the extracts (the Eve of 
Saint Agnes), are repeated in the present volume. All the 
rest of the matter contributed by him is new. He does not 
expect, of course, that every reader will agree with the 
preferences of particular lines or passages, intimated by 
the italics. Some will think them too numerous ; sc me 
perhaps too few ; many who chance to take up the book, 
may wish there had been none at all ; but these will have 



viii PREFACE. 



the goodness to recollect what has just been stated, — that 
the plan was suggested by others who desired them. The 
Editor, at any rate, begs to be considered as having mark- 
ed the passages in no spirit of dictation to any one, much 
less of disparagement to all the admirable passages not 
marked. If he assumed anything at all (beyond what is 
implied in the fact of imparting experience), it was the pro- 
bable mutual pleasure of the reader, his companion ; just 
as in reading out-loud, one instinctively increases one's em- 
phasis here and there, and implies a certain accordance of 
enjoyment on the part of the hearers. In short, all poetic 
readers are expected to have a more than ordinary portion 
of sympathy, especially with those who take pains to 
please them ; and the Editor desires no larger amount of 
it, than he gratefully gives to any friend who is good enough 
to read out similar passages to himself. 

The object of the book is threefold ; — to present the 
public with some of the finest passages in English poetry, 
50 marked and commented ; — to furnish such an account, 
in an Essay, of the nature and requirements of poetry, as 
may enable readers in general to give an answer on those 
points to themselves and others ; — and to show, throughout 
the greater part of the volume, what sort of poetry is to 
be considered as poetry of the most poetical kind, or such 
as exhibits the imagination and fancy in a state of pre- 
dominance, undisputed by interests of another sort. Poe- 
try, therefore, is not here in its compound state, great or 
otherwise (except incidentally in the Essay), but in its ele- 
ment, like an essence distilled. All the greatest poetry in- 
cludes that essence, but the essence does not present itself 
in exclusive combination with the greatest form of poetry. 
It varies in that respect from the most tremendous to the 



PREFACE. i x 



most playful effusions, and from imagination to fancy 
through all their degrees ; — from Homer and Dante, to 
Coleridge and Keats ; — from Shakspeare in King Lear, to 
Shakspeare himself in the Midsummer Night's Dream; 
from Spenser's Faerie Queene, to the Castle of Indolence ; 
nay, from Ariel in the Tempest, to his somewhat pre- 
sumptuous namesake in the Rape of the Lock. And pas- 
sages, both from Thomson's delightful allegory, and Pope's 
paragon of mock-heroics, would have been found in this 
volume, but for that intentional, artificial imitation, even in 
the former, which removes them at too great a distance 
from the highest sources of inspiration. 

With the great poet of the Faerie Queene the Editor has 
taken special pains to make readers in general better ac- 
quainted ; and in furtherance of this purpose he has ex- 
hibited many of his best passages in remarkable relation 
to the art of the Painter. 

For obvious reasons no living writer is included ; and 
some, lately deceased, do not come within the plan. The 
omission will not be thought invidious in an Editor, who 
has said more of his contemporaries than most men ; and 
who would gladly give specimens of the latter poets in 
future volumes. 

One of the objects indeed of this preface is to state, that 
should the Public evince a willingness to have more such 
books, the Editor would propose to give them, in succes- 
sion, corresponding volumes of the Poetry of Action and 
Passion (Narrative ana Dramatic Poetry), from Chaucer 
to Campbell (here mentioned because he is the latest de- 
ceased poet) ; the Poetry of Contemplation, from Surrey 
to Campbell ; — the Poetry of Wit and Humor, from Chau- 
cer to Byron ; and the Poetry of Song, or Lyrical Poetry, 



PREFACE. 



from Chaucer again (see in his Works his admirable and 
only song, beginning 

Hide, Absalom, thy gilded tresses clear), 

to Campbell again, and Burns, and O'Keefe. These vo» 
lumes, if he is not mistaken, would present the Public with 
the only selection, hitherto made, of none but genuine poe- 
try ; and he would take care, that it should be unobjection- 
able in every other respect.* 

Kensington, Sept. 10, 1844. 

* While closing the Essay on Poetry, a friend lent me Coleridge's Bio* 
graphia Literaria, which I had not seen for many years, and which I 
mention, partly to notice a coincidence at page 31 of the Essay, not other- 
wise worth observation ; and partly to do what I can towards extending the 
acquaintance of the public with a book containing masterly expositions of 
.he art of poetry. 



AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

WHAT IS POETRY? 



INCLUDING 



REMARKS ON VERSIFICATION. 



Poetry, strictly and artistically so called, that is to say, con- 
sidered not merely as poetic feeling, which is more or less 
shared by all the world, but as the operation of that feeling, 
such as we see it in the poet's book, is the utterance of a pas- 
sion for truth, beauty and power, embodying and illustrating its 
conceptions by imagination and fancy, and modulating its lan- 
guage on the principle of variety in uniformity. Its means 
are whatever the universe contains ; and its ends, pleasure and 
exaltation. Poetry stands between nature and convention, 
keeping alive among us the enjoyment of the external and 
spiritual world : it has constituted the most enduring fame of 
nations ; and, next to Love and Beauty, which are its parents, 
is the greatest proof to man of the pleasure to be found in all 
things, and of the probable riches of infinitude. 

Poetry is a passion,* because it seeks the deepest impressions; 
and because it must undergo, in order to convey them. 

It is a passion for truth, because without truth the impression 
would be false or defective. 

It is a passion for beauty, because its office is to exalt and re- 
fine by means of pleasure, and because beauty is nothing but 
the loveliest form of pleasure. 

* Passio, suffering in a good sense, — ardent subjection of one's self to 
emotion 

2 



AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



It is a passion for power, because power is impression tri- 
umphant, whether over the poet, as desired by himself, or over 
the reader, as affected by the poet. 

It embodies and illustrates its impressions by imagination, or 
images of the objects of which it treats, and other images 
brought in to throw light on those objects, in order that it may 
enjoy and impart the feeling of their truth in its utmost convic- 
tion and affluence. 

It illustrates them by fancy, which is a lighter play of imagi- 
nation, or the feeling of analogy coming short of seriousness, 
in order that it may laugh with what it loves, and show how it 
can decorate it with fairy ornament. 

It modulates what it utters, because in running the whole 
round of beauty it must needs include beauty of sound ; and 
because, in the height of its enjoyment, it must show the per- 
fection of its triumph, and make difficulty itself become part of 
its facility and joy. 

And lastly, Poetry shapes this modulation into uniformity for 
its outline, and variety for its parts, because it thus realizes the 
last idea of beauty itself, which includes the charm of diversity 
within the flowing round of habit and ease. 

Poetry is imaginative passion. The quickest and subtlest 
test of the possession of its essence is in expression ; the variety 
of things to be expressed shows the amount of its resources ; 
and the continuity of the song completes the evidence of its 
strength and greatness. He who has thought, feeling, expres- 
sion, imagination, action, character, and continuity, all in the 
largest amount and highest degree, is the greatest poet. 

Poetry includes whatsoever of painting can be made visible 
to the mind's eye, and whatsoever of music can be conveyed by 
sound and proportion without singing or instrumentation. But 
it far surpasses those divine arts in suggestiveness, range, and 
intellectual wealth ; — the first, in expression of thought, combi- 
nation of images, and the triumph over space and time ; the 
second, in all that can be done by speech, apart from the tones 
and modulations of pure sound. Painting and music, however, 
include all those portions of the gift of poetry that can be ex- 
pressed and heightened by the visible and melodious. Painting, 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 



in a certain apparent manner, is things themselves ; music, in a 
certain audible manner, is their very emotion and grace. Mu- 
sic and painting are proud to be related to poetry, and poetry 
loves and is proud of them. 

Poetry begins where matter of fact or of science ceases to be 
merely such, and to exhibit a further truth ; that is to say, the 
connexion it has with the world of emotion, and its power to 
produce imaginative pleasure. Inquiring of a gardener, for in- 
stance, what flower it is that we see yonder, he answers, " a 
lily." This is matter of fact. The botanist pronounces it to 
be of the order of " Hexandria Monogynia." This is matter 
of science. It is the " lady " of the garden, says Spenser ; 
and here we begin to have a poetical sense of its fairness and 
grace. It is 

The plant and flower of light, 

says Ben Jonson ; and poetry then shows us the beauty of the 
flower in all its mystery and splendor. 

If it be asked, how we know perceptions like these to be true, 
the answer is, by the fact of their existence, — by the consent 
and delight of poetic readers. And as feeling is the earliest 
teacher, and perception the only final proof, of things the most 
demonstrable by science, so the remotest imaginations of the 
poets may often be found to have the closest connexion with 
matter of fact ; perhaps might always be so, if the subtlety of 
our perceptions were a match for the causes of them. Con- 
sider this image of Ben Jonson's — of a lily being a flower of 
light. Light, undecomposed, is white ; and as the lily is white, 
and light is white, and whiteness itself is nothing but light, the two 
things, so far, are not merely similar, but identical. A poet might 
add, by an analogy drawn from the connexion of light and 
color, and there is a " golden dawn" issuing out of the white 
lily, in the rich yellow of the stamens. I have no desire to 
push this similarity further than it may be worth. Enough has 
been stated to show that, in poetical as in other analogies, " the 
same feet of Nature," as Bacon says, may be seen " treading in 
different paths;" and tha^ the most scornful, that is to say, 



AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



dullest disciple of fact, should be cautious how he betrays the 
shallowness of his philosophy by discerning no poetry in its 
depths. 

But the poet is far from dealing only with these subtle and 
analogical truths. Truth of every kind belongs to him, pro- 
vided it can bud into any kind of beauty, Dr is capable of being 
illustrated and impressed by the poetic faculty. Nay, the sim- 
plest truth is often so beautiful and impressive of itself, that one 
of the greatest proofs of his genius consists in his leaving it to 
stand alone, illustrated by nothing but the light of its own tears 
or smiles, its own wonder, might, or playfulness. Hence the 
complete effect of many a simple passage in our old English 
ballads and romances, and of the passionate sincerity in general 
of the greatest early poets, such as Homer and Chaucer, who 
flourished before the existence of a "literary world," and were 
not perplexed by a heap of notions and opinions, or by doubts 
how emotion ought to be expressed. The greatest of their suc- 
cessors never write equally to the purpose, except when they 
can dismiss everything from their minds but the like simple 
truth. In the beautiful poem of " Sir Eger, Sir Graham, and 
Sir Gray-Steel" (see it in Ellis's Specimens, or Laing's Early 
Metrical Tales), a knight thinks himself disgraced in the eyes 
of his mistress : 

Sir Eger said, " If it be so, 
Then wot I well I must forego 
Love-liking, and manhood, all clean !" 
The water rushed out of his een ! 

Sir Gray-Steel is killed : — 

Gray-Steel into his death thus throws (throes ?) 

He waiters (welters — throws himself about) and the 

grass tip draws ; 

***** 

A little while then lay he still 
(Friends that him saw, liked full ill) 
And bled into his armor bright. 

The abode of Chaucer's JReve, or Steward, in the Canterbury 
Tales, is painted in two lines, which nobody ever wished 
longer : — 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 



His wonning (dwelling) was full fair upon an heath, 
With greeny trees yshadowed was his place. 

Every one knows the words of Lear, " most matter-of-fact, 
most melancholy." 

Pray do not mock me ; 
I am a very foolish fond old man 
Foursc6re and upwards : 

Not an hour more, nor less ; and to deal plainly 
I fear I am not in my perfect mind. 

It is thus, by exquisite pertinence, melody, and the implied 
power of writing with exuberance, if need be, that beauty and 
truth become identical in poetry, and that pleasure, or at the 
very worst, a balm in our tears, is drawn out of pain. 

It is a great and rare thing, and shows a lovely imagination, 
when the poet can write a commentary, as it were, of his own, 
on such sufficing passages of nature, and be thanked for the 
addition. There is an instance of this kind in Warner, an old 
Elizabethan poet, than which I know nothing sweeter in the 
world. He is speaking of Fair Rosamond, and of a blow given 
her by Queen Eleanor. 

With that she dash'd her on the lips, 

So dyed double red: 
Hard teas the heart that gave the blow, 

Soft were those lips that bled. 

There are different kinds and degrees of imagination, some 
of them necessary to the formation of every true poet, and all of 
them possessed by the greatest. Perhaps they may be enume- 
rated as follows : — First, that which presents to the mind any 
object or circumstance in every-day life ; as when we imagine 
a man holding a sword, or looking out of a window ; — Second, 
that which presents real, but not every-day circumstances ; as 
King Alfred tending the loaves, or Sir Philip Sidney giving up 
the water to the dying soldier ; — Third, that which combines 
character and events directly imitated from ieal life, with imita- 
tive realities of its own invention ; as the probable parts of the 
histories of Priam and Macbeth, or what may L\e called natural 



AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



fiction as distinguished from supernatural ; — Fourth, that which 
conjures up things and events not to be found in nature ; as 
Homer's gods, and Shakspeare's witches, enchanted horses and 
spears, Ariosto's hippogriff, &c. ; — Fifth, that which, in order to 
illustrate or aggravate one image, introduces another ; sometimes 
in simile, as when Homer compares Apollo descending in his 
wrath at noon-day to the coming of night-time : sometimes in 
metaphor, or simile comprised in a word, as in Milton's " motes 
that people the sunbeams ;" sometimes in concentrating into a 
word the main history of any person or thing, past or even 
future, as in the "starry Galileo" of Byron, and that ghastly 
foregone conclusion of the epithet " murdered" applied to the 
yet living victim in Keats's story from Boccaccio — 

So the two brothers and their murder" d man 
Rode towards fair Florence ; — 

sometimes in the attribution of a certain representative quality 
which makes one circumstance stand for others ; as in Milton's 
grey-fly winding its " sultry horn," which epithet contains the 
heat of a summer's day ; — Sixth, that which reverses this pro- 
cess, and makes a variety of circumstances take color from one, 
like nature seen with jaundiced or glad eyes, or under the influ- 
ence of storm or sunshine ; as when in Lycidas, or the Greek 
pastoral poets, the flowers and the flocks are made to sympathize 
with a man's death ; or, in the Italian poet, the river flowing by 
the sleeping Angelica seems talking of love — 

Parea che 1' erba le fiorisse intorno, 
E d' amor ragionasse quella riva ! — 

Orlando Innamorato, Canto iii. 

or in the voluptuous homage paid to the sleeping Imogen by the 
very light in the chamber and the reaction of her own beauty 
upon itself ; or in the " witch element" of the tragedy of Mac- 
beth and the May-day night of Faust ; — Seventh, and last, that 
which by a single expression, apparently of the vaguest kind, 
not only meets but surpasses in its effect the extremest force of 
the most particular description j as in that exquisite passage of 



WHAT IS POETRY? 



Coleridge's Christabel, where "the unsuspecting object of the 
witch's malignity is bidden to go to bed : — 

Quoth Christabel, So let it be ! 
And as the lady bade, did she. 
Her gentle limbs did she undress, 
And lay down in her loveliness ; — 

a perfect verse surely, both for feeling and music. The very 
smoothness and gentleness of the limbs is in the series of the let- 
ter Vs. 

I am aware of nothing of the kind surpassing the most lovely 
inclusion of physical beauty in moral, neither can I call to mind 
any instances of the imagination that turns accompaniments into 
accessories, superior to those I have alluded to. Of the class of 
comparison, one of the most touching (many a tear must it have 
drawn from parents and lovers) is in a stanza which has been 
copied into the " Friar of Orders Grey," out of Beaumont and 
Fletcher : — 

Weep no more, lady, weep no more, 

Thy sorrow is in vain ; 
For violets pluck' d the sweetest showers 
Will ne'er make grow again. 

And Shakspeare and Milton abound in the very grandest ; such 
as Antony's likening his changing fortunes to the cloud-rack ; 
Lear's appeal to the old age of the heavens ; Satan's appearance 
in the horizon, like a fleet " hanging in the clouds ;" and the 
comparisons of him with the comet and the eclipse. Nor un- 
worthy of this glorious company, for its extraordinary combina- 
tion of delicacy and vastness, is that enchanting one of Shelley's 
in the Adonais : — 

Life, like a dome of many-colored glass, 
Stains the white radiance of eternity. 

I multiply these particulars in order to impress upon the reader's 
mind the great importance of imagination in all its phases, as a 
constituent part of the highest poetic faculty. 

The happiest instance I remember of imaginative metaphor 



AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



is Shakspeare's moonlight " sleeping" on a bank ; but half his 
poetry may be said to be made up of it, metaphor indeed being 
the common coin of discourse. Of imaginary creatures, none 
out of the pale of mythology and the East, are equal, perhaps, 
in point of invention, to Shakspeare's Ariel and Caliban ; though 
poetry may grudge to prose the discovery of a Winged Woman, 
especially such as she has been described by her inventor in the 
story of Peter Wilkins ; and in point of treatment, the Mammon 
and Jealousy of Spenser, some of the monsters in Dante, particu- 
larly his Nimrod, his interchangements of creatures into one 
another, and (if I am not presumptuous in anticipating what I 
think will be the verdict of posterity) the Witch in Coleridge's 
Christabel, may rank even with the creations of Shakspeare. 
It may be doubted, indeed, whether Shakspeare had bile and 
nightmare enough in him to have thought of such detestable hor- 
rors as those of the interchanging adversaries (now serpent, now 
man), or even of the huge, half-blockish enormity of Nimrod, — 
in Scripture, the "-mighty hunter" and builder of the tower of 
Babel, — in Dante, a tower of a man in his own person, standing 
with some of his brother giants up to the middle in a pit in hell, 
blowing a horn to which a thunder-clap is a whisper, and halloo 
ing after Dante and his guide in the jargon of the lost tongue ! 
The transformations are too odious to quote : but of the towering 
giant we cannot refuse ourselves the " fearful joy" of a speci- 
men. It was twilight, Dante tells us, and he and his guide Vir- 
gil were silently pacing through one of the dreariest regions of 
hell, when the sound of a tremendous horn made him turn all his 
attention to the spot from which it came. He there discovered 
through the dusk, what seemed to be the towers of a city. 
Those are no towers, said his guide ; they are giants, standing 
up to the middle in one of these circular pits. 

Come quando la nibbia si dissipa, 

Lo sguardo a poco a poco raffigura 

Cid che cela 1' vapor che 1' acre stipa ; 
Cosi forando 1' aer grossa e scura 

Piu e piu appressando in ver lasponda, 

Fuggemi errore, e giugnemi paura : 
Perocche come in su la cerchia tonda 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 



Montereggion di torri si corona, 

Cosi la proda che '1 pozzo circonda 
Torreggiavan di mezza la persona 

Gli orribili giganti, cui minaccia 

Giove del cielo ancora, quando tuona : 
Ed io scorgeva gia' d'alcun la faccia, 

Le spalle e '1 petto, e del ventre gran parte, 

E per le coste giu ambo le braccia. 

* * * * 

La faccia sua mi parea lunga e grossa 
Come la pina di san Pietro a Roma : 

E a sua proporzion eran l'altr' ossa. 

* * * * 

Rafel mai amech zabi almi 

Comincio a gridar la riera bocca, 
Cui non si convenien piii dolci salmi. 

E '1 duca mio ver lui : anima sciocca, 
Tienti col corno, e con quel ti disfoga, 
Quand' ira o altra passion ti tocca. 

Cercati al collo, e troverai la soga 
Che '1 tien legato, o anima confusa, 
E vedi lui che '1 gran petto ti doga. 

Poi disse a me : egli stesso s' accusa : 
Questi e Nembrotto, per lo cui mal coto 
Pure un linguaggio nel mondo non s' usa. 

Lasciamlo stare, e non parliamo a voto : 
Che cosi e a lui ciascun linguaggio, 
Come *1 suo ad altrui ch' a nullo e noto. 

Inferno, Canto xxxi., ver. 34. 

I look'd again ; and as the eye makes out, 
By little and little, what the mist conceal'd 
In which, till clearing up, the sky was steep'd ; 
So, looming through the gross and darksome air, 
As we drew nigh, those mighty bulks grew plain, 
And error quitted me, and terror join'd : 
For in like manner as all round its height 
Montereggione crowns itself with towers, 
So tower'd above the circuit of that pit, 
Though but half out of it, and half within, 
The horrible giants that fought love, and still 
Are threaten'd when he thunders. As we near'd 
The foremost, I discern'd his mighty face, 
His shoulders, breast, and more than half his trunk. 
With both the arms down hanging by the sides. 
His face appear'd to me, in length and breadth, 



IG AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

Huge as St. Peter's pinnacle at Rome, 

And of a like proportion all his bones. 

He open'd, as he went, his dreadful mouth, 

Fit for no sweeter psalmody ; and shouted 

After us, in the words of some strange tongue, 

Rafel ma-ee amech zabee almee ! — 

" Dull wretch !" my leader cried, "keep to thine born, 

And so vent better whatsoever rage 

Or other passion stuff thee. Feel thy throat 

And find the chain upon thee, thou confusion ! 

Lo ! what a hoop is clench'd about thy gorge." 

Then turning to myself, he said, " His howl 

Is its own mockery. This is Nimrod, he 

Through whose ill thought it was that humankind 

Were tongue-confounded. Pass him, and say naught : 

For as he speaketh language known of none, 

So none can speak save jargon to himself." 

Assuredly it could not have been easy to find a fiction so un- 
couthly terrible as this in the hypochondria of Hamlet. Even 
his father had evidently seen no such ghost in the other world. 
All his phantoms were in the world he had left. Timon, Lear, 
Richard, Brutus, Prospero, Macbeth himself, none of Shaks- 
peare's men had, in fact, any thought but of the earth they 
lived on, whatever supernatural fancy crossed them. The 
thincr fancied was still a thins of this world, "in its habit as it 
lived," or no remoter acquaintance than a witch or a fairy. Its 
lowest depths (unless Dante suggested them) were the cellars 
under the stage. Caliban himself is a cross-breed between a 
witch and a clown. No offence to Shakspeare ; who was not 
bound to be the greatest of healthy poets, and to have every 
morbid inspiration besides. What he might have done, had he 
set his wits to compete with Dante, I know not : all I know is, 
that in the infernal line he did nothing like him ; and it is not 
to be wished he had. It is far better that, as a higher, more 
universal, and more beneficent variety of the genus Poet, he 
should have been the happier man he was, and left us the plump 
cheeks on his monument, instead of the carking visage of the 
great, but over-serious, and comparatively one-sided Florentine. 
Even the imagination of Spenser, whom we take to have been 
a " nervous gentleman" compared with Shakspeare, was visited 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 11 



with no such dreams as Dante. Or, if it was, he did notchoo.se 
to make himself thinner (as Dante says he did) with dwelling 
upon them. He had twenty visions of nymphs and bowers, to 
one of the mud of Tartarus. Chaucer, for all he was " a man 
of this world " as well as the poets' world, and as great, per- 
haps a greater enemy of oppression than Dante, besides being 
one of the profoundest masters of pathos that ever lived, had 
not the heart to conclude the story of the famished father and 
his children, as finished by the inexorable anti-Pisan. But 
enough of Dante in this place. Hobbes, in order to daunt the 
reader from objecting to his friend Davenant's want of invention, 
says of these fabulous creations in general, in his letter pre- 
fixed to the poem of Gondibert, that " impenetrable armors, en- 
chanted castles, invulnerable bodies, iron men, flying horses, 
and a thousand other such things, are easily feigned by them 
that dare.'' These are girds at Spenser and Ariosto. But, 
with leave of Hobbes (who translated Homer as if on purpose 
to show what execrable verses could be written by a philoso- 
pher), enchanted castles and flying horses are not easily feigned, 
as Ariosto and Spenser feigned them ; and that just makes all 
the difference. For proof, see the accounts of Spenser's en- 
chanted castle in Book the Third, Canto Twelfth, of the Fairy 
Queen ; and let the reader of Italian open the Orlando Furioso 
at its first introduction of the Hippogriff (Canto iii., st. 4), where 
Bradamante, coming to an inn, hears a great noise, and sees all 
the people looking up at something in the air ; upon which, 
looking up herself, she sees a knight in shining armor riding 
towards the sunset upon a creature with variegated wings, and 
then dipping and disappearing among the hills. Chaucer's steed 
of brass, that was 

So horsly and so quick of" eye, 

is copied from tue life. You might pat him and fori his brazen 
muscles. Hobbes, in objecting to what he thought childish, 
made a childish mistake. His criticism is just such as a boy 
might pique himself upon, who was educated on mechanical 
principles, and thought he had outgrown his Goody Two-shoes. 



12 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

With a wonderful dimness of discernment in poetic matters, 
considering his acuteness in others, he fancies he has settled the 
question by pronouncing such creations " impossible !" To the 
brazier they are impossible, no doubt ; but not to the poet. 
Their possibility, if the poet wills it, is to be conceded ; the 
problem is, the creature being given, how to square its actions 
with probability, according to the nature assumed of it. Hobbes 
did not see, that the skill and beauty of these fictions lay in 
bringing them within those very regions of truth and likelihood 
in which he thought they could not exist. Hence the serpent 
Python of Chaucer, 

Sleeving against the sun upon a day, 

when Apollo slew him. Hence the chariot-drawing dolphins of 
Spenser, softly swimming along the shore lest they should hurt 
themselves against the stones and gravel. Hence Shakspeare's 
Ariel, living under blossoms, and riding at evening on the bat ; 
and his domestic namesake in the " Rape of the Lock" (the 
imagination of the drawing-room) saving a lady's petticoat from 
the coffee with his plumes, and directing atoms of snuff into a 
coxcomb's nose. In the " Orlando Furioso" (Canto xv., st. 
65) is a wild story of a cannibal necromancer, who laughs at 
being cut to pieces, coming together again like quicksilver, and 
picking up his head when it is cut off, sometimes by the hair, 
sometimes by the nose ! This, which would be purely childish 
and ridiculous in the hands of an inferior poet, becomes inter- 
esting, nay grand, in Ariosto's, from the beauties of his style. 
and its conditional truth to nature. The monster has a fated 
hair on his head, — a single hair, — which must be taken from it 
before he can be killed. Decapitation itself is of no consequence, 
without that proviso. The Paladin Astolfo, who has fought this 
phenomenon on horseback, and succeeded in getting the head 
and galloping off with it, is therefore still at a loss what to be 
at. How is he to discover such a needle in such a bottle of 
hay ? The trunk is spurring after him to recover it, and he 
seeks for some evidence of the hair in vain. At length he be- 
thinks himself of scalping the head. He does so ; and the mo- 



WHAT IS POETRY? 13 



ment the operation arrives at the place of the hair, the face of 
the head becomes pale, the eyes turn in their sockets, and tha lite- 
less pursuer tumbles from his horse. 

Si fece il viso allor pallido e brutto, 
Travolse gli occhi, e dimostro a '1 occaso 
Per manifesti segni esser condutto. 
E '1 busto che seguia troncato al collo, 
Di sella cadde, e die 1' ultimo crollo 

Then grew the visage pale, and deadly wet ; 
The eyes turned in their sockets, drearily ; 
And all things show'd the villain's sun was set. 
His trunk that was in chase, fell from its horse, 
And giving the last shudder, was a corse. 

It is thus, and thus only, by making Nature his companion 
wherever he goes, even in the most supernatural region, that the 
poet, in the words of a very instructive phrase, takes the world 
alono- with him. It is true, he must not (as the Platonists would 
say) humanize weakly or mistakenly in that region ; otherwise 
he runs the chance of forgetting to be true to the supernatural 
itself, and so betraying a want of imagination from that quar- 
ter. His nymphs will have no taste of their woods and waters ; 
his gods and goddesses be only so many fair or frowning ladies 
and gentlemen, such as we see in ordinary paintings ; he will 
be in no danger of having his angels likened to a sort of wild- 
fowl, as Rembrandt has made them in his Jacob's Dream. His 
Bacchus's will never remind us, like Titian's, of the force and 
fury, as well as of the graces, of wine. His Jupiter will reduce 
no females to ashes ; his fairies be nothing fantastical ; his 
gnomes not " of the earth, earthy." And this again will be 
wanting to Nature ; for it will be wanting to the supernatural, 
as Nature would have made it, working in a supernatural direc- 
tion. Nevertheless, the poet, even for imagination's sake, must 
not become a bigot to imaginative truth, dragging it down into 
the region of the mechanical and the limited, and losing sight of 
its paramount privilege, which is to make beauty, in a human 
sense, the lady and queen of the universe. He would gain 
•■othing bv making his ocean-nymphs mere fishy creatures, upon 



14 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

the plea that such only could live in the water: his wood- 
nymphs with faces of knotted oak ; his angels without breath 
and song, because no lungs could exist between the earth's 
atmosphere and the empyrean. The Grecian tendency in this 
respect is safer than the Gothic ; nay, more imaginative ; for it 
enables us to imagine beyond imagination, and to bring all things 
healthily round to their only present final ground of sympathy 
— the human. When we go to heaven, we may idealize in a 
superhuman mode, and have altogether different notions of the 
beautiful ; but till then, we must be content with the loveliest 
capabilities of earth. The sea-nymphs of Greece were still 
beautiful women, though they lived in the water. The gills and 
fins of the ocean's natural inhabitants were confined to their 
lowest semi-human attendants ; or if Triton himself was not 
quite human, it was because he represented the fiercer part of 
the vitality of the seas, as they did the fairer. 

To conclude this part of my subject, I will quote from the 
greatest of all narrative writers two passages ; — one exemplifying 
the imagination which brings supernatural things to, bear on 
earthly, without confounding them ; the other, that which paints 
events and circumstances after real life. The first is where 
Achilles, who has long absented himself from the conflict be- 
tween his countrymen and the Trojans, has had a message from 
heaven, bidding him re-appear in the enemy's sight, standing 
outside the camp-wall upon the trench, but doing nothing more ; 
that is to say, taking no part in the fight. He is simply to be 
seen. The two armies down by the sea-side are contending 
which shall possess the body of Patroclus ; and the mere sight 
of the dreadful Grecian chief — supernaturally indeed impressed 
upon them, in order that nothing may be wanting to the full 
effect of his courage and conduct upon courageous men — is to 
determine the question. We are to imagine a slope of ground 
towards the sea, in order to elevate the trench ; the camp is 
solitary ; the battle ("a dreadful roar of men," as Homer calls 
it) is raging on the sea-shore ; and the goddess Iris has just 
delivered her message, and disappeared. 

A-vrap A^iAXeus upro An (f>i\os' ap^i 6' A0i?>"7 
£2^o<j upBifioidi fiaX aiyi&a BvooavowoaV 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 15 



A.ji(pi Se 01 K£tpa\r] vcipoi carets 5ia Qeaa>v 
~X.pvaeov, ck 5' avTov 8atc f\oya Ttaft(pavoo>aa^. 
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Trj\oOcv ck vrioov, Tt\v 5r\ioi ajia^ijia^ovrat, 
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Actcos ck tripcrcpov' ajia 6' ijtXio) KtxraSvvTi 
Tlvpaoi ti tp\cyc9ovcriP cirTiTpijioi, vtyoae 5' avyri 
liyvcrai aiaaovaa, TTipiKTiovcacriv iScadai, 
A< kcv tcos aw vrivaiv apt); a\KTr)pc; iKtovTttl' 
'S2j an-' A^iXX^of KC<pa\rts crcXaj aiQcp' iKavcv. 

Sr») 5' ctti raippov tbjv axo tci^cos' ov6' cs Avaiouj 
\Lt(TyCTO' ftrjTpaq yap TrVKivr/v ojtti^ct' cpcr/ir/v. 
Ev0a cttoj rjva' anarepde 6c IlaAXas A-Oqi'i] 
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'£2? 5' or api^rfKn <p<t>vn, brc t <a%£ aakiriy^ 
A.OTV TTcpiir\oficvo>v irjioiv vtto QvpopaiCTCWv' 
'Q,i tot' apt$rj\ri (poivr] yever' Aia/a<5ao. 
'Oi 6' &)$ ovv aiov ona voKksov Aia<ci<5ao, 
TIaaiv opivQrj Ovj-ioi' a.Tap KaWiTpiyc; 'nrrroi 
At// o^za Tpoirsov' oaaovTO yap a\yca Ov/tw. 
'lELviovoi 6' CKrrXriyzv, cttci tSov aKaparov izvp 
Acivov VTtcp KC(j>a\r\s fxcyaBojWV WqXcitovoq 
Aaiojicvov' to 5c Sate dca yXavKtoiri; Adr/vr/. 
TptS jiCV viicp Taij>pov fityaX ia%c 5ios A^iXXeus, 

TfHf 5c KVKr/Oniav TpMEf, K^CLTOl t' CTTlKOVpOl. 

TSifda 5c Ktti tot o\iivto 5vo}6sKa tpwTts aptoroi 
A/i'/u cipois o^ccaaa Kai cy-^emv. 

Iliad, Lib. xviii., v. 903. 

ut up Achilles rose, the lov'd of heaven ; 
And Pallas on his mighty shoulders cast 
The shield of Jove; and round about his head 
She put the glory of a golden mist, 
From which there burnt a fiery-flaming light. 
And as, when smoke goes heaven-ward from a town, 
In some far island which its foes besiege, 
Who all day long with dreadful martialness 
Have pour'd from their own town ; soon as the sun 
Has set, thick lifted fires are visible, 
Which, rushing upward, make a light in the sky, 
Vnd let the neighbors know, who may perhaps 

'flting help across the sea ; so from the head 

f great Achilles went up an effulgence. 

pon the trench he stood, without the wall, 
it mix'd not with the Greeks, for he rever'd 



16 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

His mother's word ; and so, thus standing there, 

He shouted ; and Minerva, to his shout, 

Added a dreadful cry ; and there arose 

Among the Trojans an unspeakable tumult. 

And as the clear voiae of a trumpet, blown 

Against a town by spirit-withering foes, 

So sprang the clear voice of ^Eacides. 

And when they heard the brazen cry, their hearts 

All leap'd within them ; and the' proud-maned horses 

Ran with the chariots round, for they foresaw 

Calamity ; and the charioteers were smitten, 

When they beheld the ever-active fire 

Upon the dreadml head of the great-minded one 

Burning ; for bright-eyed Pallas made it burn. 

Thrice o'er the trench divine Achilles shouted ; 

And thrice the Trojans and their great allies 

Roil'd back ; and twelve of all their noblest men 

Then perished, crush'd by their own arms and chariots. 

Of course there is no further question about the body of Patro- 
clus. It is drawn out of the press, and received by the awful 
hero with tears. 

The other passage is where Priam, kneeling before Achilles, 
and imploring him to give up the dead body of Hector, reminds 
him of his own father ; who, whatever (says the poor old king) 
may be his troubles with his enemies, has the blessing of know- 
ing that his son is still alive, and may daily hope to see him 
return. Achilles, in accordance with the strength and noble 
honesty of the passions in those times, weeps aloud himself at 
this appeal, feeling, says Homer, " desire" for his father in his 
very " limbs." He joins in grief with the venerable sufferer, 
and can no longer withstand the look of " his great head and 
his grey chin." Observe the exquisite introduction of this last 
word. It paints the touching fact of the chin's being implor- 
ingly thrown upward by the kneeling old man, and the very 
motion of his beard as he speaks. 

'£2$ apa (poivrjaas atrefin irpof fnaKpov O\vfiirov 
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Trj p' A^iXcuj l^ctTKC, An <pi\oi' cv it jiw avrov 
'Evp' irapot &' axavevdt Kadctaro' to St <5o' oia), 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 17 



'Hpcoj AvTOficSbyv re Kai AXki^io;, o$os Apioj, 

THoiirvvov -rrapcovrc' vcov o" awcXriycv e6co6qs 

Eadoyv Kai irtvwv, cri Kai iraptKCtro rpawe^a. 

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Qafifiriaav 6c Kai aWot, ££ aXXijXouj <Jc iSovto. 

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Tpoir/ tv cvpciri, tiov o" ovriva tyr\jn \e\ct<pdai. 
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AXX' ai6tio Qtovs, A^iXfti, avrov r' tXerio-ov, 
M.VTiaantvos gov itarpos' syoi 6' tSttivortpos ftp, 
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A.v6pos Trai6o<povoio won arojia %£'(?' opeyiyQai. 

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KXai' a6tva, Trpoirapotdc tto6wv A^iXiyoy t\vadtis' 
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A.vtik' ann Qpuvov oipro, yepovra 6c X tl P° s al '" rr '/i 
OiKTtipaiv ffoXioi/ te Kapn, tto\iov re yc ClOV. 

Iliad, Lib. xxiv., v. 46S. 



n 



18 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

So saying, Mercury vanished up to heaven : 

And Priam then alighted from his chariot, 

Leaving Idoeus with it, who remain'd 

Holding the mules and horses ; and the old man 

Went straight in-doors, where the belov'd of Jove 

Achilles sat, and found him. In the room 

Were others, but apart ; and two alone, 

The hero Automedon, and Alcimus, 

A branch of Mars, stood by him. They had been 

At meals, and had not yet removed the board. 

Great Priam came, without their seeing him, 

And kneeling down, he clasp'd Achilles' knees, 

And kiss'd those terrible, homicidal hands, 

Which had deprived him of so many sons. 

And as a man who is press'd heavily 

For having slain another, flies away 

To foreign lands, and comes into the house 

Of some great man, and is beheld with wonder, 

So did Achilles wonder to see Priam ; 

And the rest wonder'd, looking at each other. 

But Priam, praying to him, spoke these words : - 

" God-like Achilles, think of thine own father! 

To the same age have we both come, the same 

Weak pass ; and though the neighboring chiefs may vefc 

Him also, and his borders find no help, 

Yet when he hears that thou art still alive, 

He gladdens inwardly, and daily hopes 

To see his dear son coming back from Troy. 

But I, bereav'd old Priam ! I had once 

Brave sons in Troy, and now I cannot say 

That one is left me. Fifty children had I, 

When the Greeks came ; nineteen were of one womb ; 

The rest my women bore me in my house. 

The knees of many of these fierce Mars has loosen'd ; 

And he who had no peer, Troy's prop and theirs, 

Him hast thou kill'd now, fighting for his country, 

Hector ; and for his sake am I come here 

To ransom him, bringing a countless ransom. 

But thou, Achilles, fear the gods, and think 

Of thine own father, and have mercy on me ; 

For I am much more wretched, and have borne 

What never mortal bore, I think, on earth, 

To lift unto my lips the hand of him 

Wio slew my boys." 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 19 

He ceased ; and there arose 
Sharp longing in Achilles for his father; 
And taking Priam by the hand, he gently 
Put him away ; for both shed tears to think 
Of other times ; the one, most bitter ones 
For Hector, and with wilful wretchedness 
Lay right before Achilles : and the other, 
For his own father now, and now his friend ; 
And the whole house might hear them as they moan'd. 
But when divine Achilles had refresh'd 
His soul with tears, and sharp desire had left 
His heart and limbs, he got up from his throne, 
And rais'd the old man by the hand, and took 
Pity on his grey head and his grey chin. 

O lovely and immortal privilege of genius ! that can stretch 
its hand out of the wastes of time, thousands of years back, 
and touch our eyelids with tears. In these passages there is not 
a word which a man of the most matter-of-fact understanding 
might not have written, if he had thought of it. But in poetry, 
feeling and imagination are necessary to the perception and 
presentation even of matters of fact. They, and they only, see 
what is proper to be told, and what to be kept back ; what is 
pertinent, affecting, and essential. Without feeling, there is a 
want of delicacy and distinction ; without imagination, there is 
no true embodiment. In poets, even good of their kind, but 
without a genius for narration, the action would have been en- 
cumbered or diverted with ingenious mistakes. The over-con- 
templative would have given us too many remarks ; the over- 
lyrical, a style too much carried away ; the over-fanciful, con- 
ceits and too many similes ; the unimaginative, the facts without 
the feeling, and not even those. We should have been told 
nothing of the " grey chin," of the house hearing them as they 
moaned, or of Achilles gently putting the old man aside ; much 
less of that yearning for his father, which made the hero trem- 
ble in every limb. Writers without the greatest passion and 
power do not feel in this way, nor are capable of expressing the 
feeling ; though there is enough sensibility and imagination all 
over the world to enable mankind to be moved by it, when the 
poet strikes his truth into their hearts. 

The reverse of imagination is exhibited in pure absence of 



20 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

ideas, in commonplaces, and, above all, in conventional meta. 
phor, or such images and their phraseology as have become the 
common property of discourse and writing. Addison's Cato is 
full of them. 

Passion unpitied and successless love 
Plant daggers in my breast. 

I've sounded my Numidians, man by man, 
And find them ripe for a revolt. 

The virtuous Marcia towers above her sex. 

Of the same kind is his " courting the yoke" — " distracting my 
very heart" — "calling up all" one's " father" in one's soul — 
"working every nerve" — "copying a bright example;" in 
short, the whole play, relieved now and then with a smart sen- 
tence or turn of words. The following is a pregnant example 
of plagiarism and weak writing. It is from another tragedy of 
Addison's time, — the Mariamne of Fenton : — 

Mariamne, with superior charms, 
Triumphs o'er reason : in her look she bears 
A paradise of ever-blooming sweets ; 
Fair as the first idea beauty prints 
In her young lover's soul ; a winning grace 
Guides every gesture, and obsequious love 
Jlttends on all her steps. 

" Triumphing o'er reason" is an old acquaintance of every- 
body's. " Paradise in her look " is from the Italian poets through 
Dryden. " Fair as the first idea," &c, is from Milton spoilt ; 
" winning grace" and "steps" from Milton and Tibullus, both 
spoilt. Whenever beauties are stolen by such a writer, they are 
sure to be spoilt ; just as when a great writer borrows, he 
improves. 

To come now to Fancy, — she is a younger sister of Imagina- 
tion, without the other's weight of thought and feeling. Imagi- 
nation indeed, purely so called, is all feeling ; the feeling of the 
subtlest and most affecting analogies ; the perception of sympa- 
thies in the natures of things, or in their popular attributes. 
Fancy is sporting with their resemblance, real or supposed, and 
• ith ai" v orirl fantastical creations. 



WHAT IS POETRY? 2\ 



Rouse yourself; and the weak wanton Cupid 
Shall from your neck unloose his amorous fold, 
And, like a dew-drop from the lion's mane, 
Be shook to air. 

Troilus and Cressida, Act iii., sc. 3. 

That is imagination ; — the strong mind sympathizing with the 
strong beast, and the weak love identified with the weak dew- 
drop. 

Oh ! — and I forsooth 
In love ! I that have been love's whip ! 
A very beadle to a humorous sigh ! — 
A domineering pedant o'er the boy, — 
This whimpled, whining, purblind, wayward boy, — 
This senior-junior, giant-dwarf, Dan Cupid, 
Regent of love-rhymes, lord of folded arms, 
The anointed sovereign of sighs and groans, &c. 

Love's Labor's Lost, Act iii., sc. 1. 

That is fancy ; — a combination of images not m their nature 
connected, or brought together by the feeling, but by the will 
and pleasure ; and having just enough hold of analogy to betray 
it into the hands of its smiling subjector. 

Silent icicles 
Quietly shining to the quiet ??won. 

Coleridge's Frost at Midnight. 

That, again, is imagination ; — analogical sympathy ; and exqui- 
site of its kind it is. 

" You are now sailed into the north of my lady's opinion ; where you 

will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman' s beard, unless you do redeem it by 

some laudable attempt." 

Twelfth Night, Act iii , sr. 2. 

And that is fancy ; — one image capriciously suggested by an- 
other, and but half connected with the subject of discourse ; 
nay, half opposed to it; for in the gaiety of the speaker's ani- 
mal spirits, the " Dutchman's beard" is made to represent the 
lady! 

Imagination belongs to Tragedy, or the serious muse ; Fancy 



22 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

to the comic. Macbeth, Lear, Paradise Lost, the poem of 
Dante, are full of imagination : the Midsummer Night's Dream 
and the Rape of the Lock, of fancy : Romeo and Juliet, the 
Tempest, the Fairy Queen, and the Orlando Furioso, of both. 
The terms were formerly identical, or used as such ; and neither 
is the best that might be found. The term Imagination is too 
confined : often too material. It presents too invariably the idea 
of a solid body ; — of " images" in the sense of the plaster-cast 
cry about the streets. Fancy, on the other hand, while it 
means nothing but a spiritual image or apparition {<l>avTaa\i,u, 
appearance, phantom), has rarely that freedom from visibility 
which is one of the highest privileges of imagination. Viola, in 
Twelfth Night, speaking of some beautiful music, says : — 

It gives a very echo to the seat, 
Where Love is throned. 

In this charming thought, fancy and imagination are combined ; 
yet the fancy, the assumption of Love's sitting on a throne, 
is the image of a solid body ; while the imagination, the sense of 
sympathy between the passion of love and impassioned music, 
presents us no image at aH. Some new term is wanting to 
express the more spiritual sympathies of what is called Imagi- 
nation. 

One of the teachers of Imagination is Melancholy ; and like 
Melancholy, as Albert Durer has painted her, she looks out 
among the stars, and is busied with spiritual affinities and the 
mysteries of the universe. Fancy turns her sister's wizard in- 
struments into toys. She takes a telescope in her hand, and 
puts a mimic star on her forehead, and sallies forth as an em- 
blem of astronomy. Her tendency is to the child-like and sport- 
ive. She chases butterflies, while her sister takes flight with 
angels. She is the genius of fairies, of gallantries, of fashions ; 
of whatever is quaint and light, showy and capricious ; of the 
poetical part of wit. She adds wings and feelings to the images 
of wit; and delights as much to people nature with smiling 
ideal sympathies, as wit does to bring antipathies together, and 
make them strike light on absurdity. Fancy, however, is not 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 23 



incapable of sympathy with Imagination. She is often found in 
her company ; always, in the case of the greatest poets ; often 
in that of less, though with them she is the greater favorite. 
Spenser has great imagination and fancy too, but more of the 
latter ; Milton both aLso, the very greatest, but with imagination 
predominant ; Chaucer, the strongest imagination of real life, 
beyond any writers but Homer, Dante, and Shakspeare, and in 
comic painting inferior to none ; Pope has hardly any imagina- 
tion, but he has a great deal of fancy ; Coleridge little fancy, 
but imagination exquisite. Shakspeare alone, of all poets that 
ever lived, enjoyed the regard of both in equal perfection. A 
whole fairy poem of his writing will be found in the present 
volume. See also his famous description of Queen Mab and her 
equipage, in Romeo and Juliet : — 

Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs ; 

The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ; 

Her traces of the smallest spider's web ; 

Her collars of the moonshine's watery beams, &c. 

That is Fancy, in its playful creativeness. As a small but 
pretty rival specimen, less known, take the description of a 
fairy palace from Drayton's Nymphidia : — 

This palace standeth in the air, 
By necromancy placed there, 
That it no tempest needs to fear, 

Which way soe'er it blow it : 
And somewhat southward tow'rd the noon, 
Whence lies a way up to the moon, 
And thence the Fairy can as soon 

Pass to the earth below it. 
The walls of spiders' legs are made, 
Well morticed and finely laid : 
He was the master of his trade, 

It curiously that builded : 
The windows of the eyes of cats : 



(because they see best at night) 



And for the roof instead of slats 
Is cover'd with the skins of bats 
With moonshine that are gilded. 



24 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



Here also is a fairy bed, very delicate, from the same poet's 
Muse's Elysium. 

Of leaves of roses, white and red, 
Shall be the covering of the bed ; 
The curtains, vallens, tester all, 
Shall be the flower imperial ; 
And for the fringe it all along 
With azure hare-bells shall be hung. 
Of lilies shall the pillows be 
With down stuft of the butterfly. 

Of fancy, so full of gusto as to border on imagination, Sir John 
Suckling, in his " Ballad on a Wedding," has given some of the 
most playful and charming specimens in the language. They 
glance like twinkles in the eye, or cherries bedewed • 

Her feet beneath her petticoat, 
Like little mice stole in and out, 

As if they fear 1 d the light ; 
But oh ! she dances such a way ! 
No sun upon an Easter day, 

Is half so fine a sight. 



'.-,' 



It is very daring, and has a sort of playful grandeur, to compare 
a lady's dancing with the sun. But as the sun has it all to him- 
self in the heavens, so she, in the blaze of her beauty, on earth. 
This is imagination fairly displacing fancy. The following has 
enchanted everybody : — 

Her lips were red, and one was thin, 
Compared with that was next her chin, 
Some bee had stung it newly. 

Every reader has stolen a kiss at that lip, gay or grave. 

With regard to the principle of Variety in Uniformity by 
which verse ought to be modulated, and one-ness of impression 
diversely produced, it has been contended by some, that Poetry 
need not be written in verse at all ; that prose is as good a me- 
dium, provided poetry be conveyed through it; and that to think 
otherwise is to confound letter with spirit, or form with essence. 
But the opinion is a prosaical mistake. Fitness and unfitness for 



WHAT 13 POETRY ? 2o 



song, or metrical excitement, just make all the difference between 
a poetical and prosaical subject ; and the reason why verse is 
necessary to the form of poetry, is, that the perfection of poetical 
spirit demands it; that the circle of enthusiasm, beauty, and 
power, is incomplete without it. I do not mean to say that a 
poet can never show himself a poet in prose ; but that, being one, 
his desire and necessity will be to write in verse; and that, if he 
were unable to do so, he would not, and could not, deserve his 
title. Verse to the true poet is no clog. It is idly called a 
trammel and a difficulty. It is a help. It springs from the 
same enthusiasm as the rest of his impulses, and is necessary to 
their satisfaction and effect. Verse is no more a clog than the 
condition of rushing upward is a clog to fire, or than the round- 
ness and order of the globe we live on is a clog to the freedom 
and variety that abound within its sphere. Verse is no domi- 
nator over the poet, except inasmuch as the bond is reciprocal, 
and the poet dominates over the verse. They are lovers play- 
fully challenging each other's rule, and delighted equally to rule 
and to obey. Verse is the final proof to the post that his mastery 
over his art is complete. It is the shutting up of his powers in 
" measureful content ;" the answer of form to his spirit ; of strength 
and ease to his guidance. It is the willing action, the proud and 
fiery happiness, of the winged steed on whose back he has vaulted, 

To witch the world with wondrous horsemanship. 

Verse, in short, is that finishing, and rounding, and " tuneful 
planetting" of the poet's creations, which is produced of neces- 
sity by the smooth tendencies of their energy or inward working, 
and the harmonious dance into which they are attracted round 
the orb of the beautiful. Poetry, in its complete sympathy with 
beauty, must, of necessity, leave no sense of the beautiful, and 
no power over its forms, unmanifested ; and verse flows as 
inevitably from this condition of its integrity, as other laws of 
proportion do from any other kind of embodiment of beauty (say 
that of the human figure), however free and various the move- 
ments may be that play within their limits. What great poet 
( ver wrote his poems in prose ? or where is a good prose poem, 
of any length, to be found ? The poetry of the Bible is under- 



2G AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

stood to be in verse, in the original. Mr. Hazlitt has said a 
good word for those prose enlargements of some fine old song, 
which are known by the name of Ossian ; and in passages they 
deserve what he said ; but he judiciously abstained from saying 
anything about the form. Is Gesner's D°ath of Abel a poem ? 
or Hervey's Meditations ? The Pilgrim's Progress has been 
called one ; and, undoubtedly, Bunyan had a genius which 
tended to make him a poet, and one of no mean order; and yet 
it was of as ungenerous and low a sort as was compatible with 
so lofty an affinity ; and this is the reason why it stopped where 
it did. He had a craving after the beautiful, but not enough of 
it in himself to echo to its music. On the other hand, the pos- 
session of the beautiful will not be sufficient without force to 
utter it. The author of Telemachus had a soul full of beauty 
and tenderness. He was not a man who, if he had had a wife 
and children, would have run away from them, as Bunyan's 
hero did, to get a place by himself in heaven. He was "a little 
lower than the angels," like our own Bishop Jewells and Berke- 
leys ; and yet he was no poet. He was too delicately, not to 
say feebly, absorbed in his devotions, to join in the energies of 
the seraphic choir. 

Every poet, then, is a versifier; every fine poet an excellent 
one ; and he is the best whose verse exhibits the Greatest 
amount of strength, sweetness, straightforwardness, unsuperflu- 
ousness, variety, and one-ness ; one-ness, that is to say, consist- 
ency, in the general impression, metrical and moral ; and variety, 
or every pertinent diversity of tone and rhythm, in the process, 
Strength is the muscle of verse, and shows itself in the numbei 
and force of the marked syllables ; as, 

Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds. 

Paradise last. 

Behemoth, biggest born of earth, upheav'd 
His vastness. 

Id. 

Blow winds and crack your cheeks ? rage ! blow ! 

You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout, 

Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks • 



WHAT IS POETRY 27 



You sulphurous and thought-executing fires, 
Vaunt couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts, 
Singe my white head ! and thou, all-shaking th tinder, 
Strike flat the thick rotundity o' the world ! 

Lear. 

Unexpected locations of the accent double this force, and 
render it characteristic of passion and abruptness. And here 
comes into play the reader's corresponding fineness of ear, and 
his retardations and accelerations in accordance with those of 
the poet : — 

Then in the keyhole turns 
The intricate wards, and every bolt and bar 
Unfastens. On a sudden open fly 
. With impetuous recoil and jarring sound 
The infernal doors, and on their hinges grate 
Harsh thunder. 

Par. Lost, Book II. 

Abominable — unutterable — and worse 
Than fables yet have feigned. 



Wallowing unwieldy — enormous in their gait. 



Id. 



Id. 



Of unusual passionate accent, there is an exquisite specimen 
in the Fairy Queen, where Una is lamenting her desertion by 
the Red-Cross Knight : — 

But he, my lion, and my noble lord, 
How does he find in cruel heart to hate 
Her that him lov'd, and ever most ador'd 
As the gbd of my life 1 Why hath he me abhorr'd ? 

See the whole stanza, with a note upon it, in the present 
volume. 

The abuse of strength is harshness and heaviness ; the re- 
verse of it is weakness. There is a noble sentiment, — it ap- 
pears both in Daniel's and Sir John Beaumont's works, but is 
most probably the latter's, — which is a perfect outrage ot 
strength in the sound of the words : — 



28 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



Only the firmest and the consta?ifst hearts 
God sets to act the stoufst and hardest parts. 

Stoutest and constant'st for "stoutest" and " most constant !" 
It is as bad as the intentional crabbedness of the line in Hudi- 
bras ; 

He that hangs or beats onfs brains, 
The devil's in hirn if he feigns. 

Beats out's brains, for " beats out his brains." Of heaviness, 
Davenant's " Gondibert " is a formidable specimen, almost 
throughout : — 



& 



With silence (order's help, and mark of care) 

They chide that noise which heedless youth affect; 
Still course for use, for health they clearness wear, 

And save in well-fix'd arms, all nk-eness check'd. 
They thought, those that, unarmed, expos' d frail life, 

But naked nature valiantly betray'd ; 
Who was, though naked, safe, till pride made strife, 

But made defence must use, now danger's made. 

And so he goes digging and lumbering on, like a heavy 
preacher thumping the pulpit in italics, and spoiling many in- 
genious reflections. 

Weakness in versification is want of accent and emphasis. 
It generally accompanies prosaicalness, and is the consequence 
of weak thoughts, and of the affectation of a certain well-bred 
enthusiasm. The writings of the late Mr. Hayley were re- 
markable for it ; and it abounds among the lyrical imitators of 
Cowley, and the whole of what is called our French school of 
poetry, when it aspired above its wit and "sense." It some- 
times breaks down in a horrible, hopeless manner, as if giving 
way at the first step. The following ludicrous passage in Con- 
greve, intended to be particularly fine, contains an instance : — 

And lo ! Silence himself is here ; 
Methinks I see the midnight god appear. 
In all his downy pomp array'd, 
Behold the reverend shade. 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 29 



An ancient sigh he sits upon ! ! ! 
Whose memory of sound is long since gone, 
And purposely annihilated for his throne ! ! 

Ode on the singing of J\Irs. Arabella Hunt. 

See also the would-be enthusiasm of Addison about music : 

For ever consecrate the day 
To music and Cecilia ; 
Music, the greatest good that mortals know, 
And all of heaven we have below, 
Music can noble hints impart !! ! 

It is observable that the unpoetic masters of ridicule are apt 
to make the most ridiculous mistakes, when they come to affect 
a strain higher than the one they are accustomed to. But no 
wonder. Their habits neutralize the enthusiasm it requires. 

Sweetness, though not identical with smoothness, any more 
than feeling is with sound, always includes it; and smoothness 
is a thing so little to be regarded for its own sake, and indeed so 
worthless in poetry but for some taste of sweetness, that I have 
not thought necessary to mention it by itself; though such an 
all-in-all in versification was it regarded not a hundred vears 
back, that Thomas Warton himself, an idolator of Spenser, ven- 
tured to wish the following line in the Fairy Queen, 

And was admired much of fools, ivbmen, and boys — 

altered to 

And was admired much of women, fools, and boys — 

thus destroying the fine scornful emphasis on the first syllable of 
"women!" (an ungallant intimation, by the way, against the 
fair sex, very startling in this no less woman-loving than great 
poet.) Any poetaster can be smooth. Smoothness abounds in 
all small poets, as sweetness does in the greater. Sweetness is 
the smoothness of grace and delicacy, — of the sympathy with 
the pleasing and lovely. Spenser is full of it, — Shakspeare — 
Beaumont and Fletcher — Coleridge. Of Spenser's and Cole- 
ridge's versification it is the prevailing characteristic. Its main 
secrets are a smooth nr*™-* -sion between varietv and sameness- 



30 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

and a voluptuous sense of the continuous, — "linked sweetness 
long drawn out." Observe the first and last lines of the stanza 
in the Fairy Queen, describing a shepherd brushing away the 
gnats ; — the open and the close e's in the one, 

As gentle shepherd in sweet eventide — 

and the repetition of the word oft, and the fall from the vowel 
a, into the two u's in the other, — 

She brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmurings. 

So in his description of two substances in the handling, both 
equally smooth ; — 

Each smoother seems than each, and each than each seems smoother. 

An abundance of examples from his poetry will be found in 
the volume before us. His beauty revolves on itself with con- 
scious loveliness. And Coleridge is worthy to be named with 
him, as the reader will see also, and has seen already. Let 
him take a sample meanwhile from the poem called the Day- 
Dre-am ! Observe both the variety and sameness of the vowels, 
and the repetition of the soft consonants : — 

My eyes make pictures when they're shut : — 

I see a fountain, large and fair, 
A willow and a ruin'd hut, 

And thee and me and Mary there. 
O Mary ! make thy gentle lap our pillow ; 
Bend o'er us, like a bower, my beautiful green willow. 

By Slraightforivardness is meant the flow of words in their 
natural order, free alike from mere prose, and from those inver- 
sions to which bad poets recur in order to escape the charge of 
prose, but chiefly to accommodate their rhymes. In Shadwell's 
play of Psyche, Venus gives the sisters of the heroine an an- 
swer, of which the following is the entire substance, literally, 
in so many words. The author had nothing better for her to 
say: 

" I receive your prayers with kindness, and will give success to your 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 31 



nopes. I have seen, with anger, mankind adore your sister's beauty and 
deplore her scorn : which they shall do no more. For I'll so resent their 
idolatry, as shall content your wishes to the full." 

Now in default of all imagination, fancy, and expression, 
how was the writer to turn these words into poetry or rhyme ? 
Simply by diverting them from their natural order, and twisting 
the halves of the sentences each before the other. 

With kindness I your prayers receive, 

And to your hopes success will give. 
I have, with anger, seen mankind adore 
Your sister's beauty and her scorn deplore ; 

Which they shall do no more. 
For their idolatry I'll so resent, 
As shall your wishes to the full content ! ! 

This is just as if a man were to allow that there was no 
poetry in the words, "How do you find yourself?" "Very 
well, I thank you ;" but to hold them inspired, if altered into 

Yourself how do you find ? 
Very well, you I thank. 

It is true, the best writers in Shadwell's age were addicted to 
these inversions, partly for their own reasons, as far as rhyme 
was concerned, and partly because they held it to be writing in 
the classical and Virgilian manner. What has since been 
called Artificial Poetry was then flourishing, in contradistinction 
to Natural ; or Poetry seen chiefly through art and books, and 
not in its first sources. But when the artificial poet partook of 
the natural, or, in other words, was a true poet after his kind, 
his best was always written in the most natural and straight- 
forward manner. Hear Shadwell's antagonist Dryden. Not a 
particle of inversion, beyond what is used for the sake of em. 
phasis in common discourse, and this only in one line (the last 
but three), is to be found in his immortal character of the Duke 
of Buckingham : — 

A man so various, that he seemed to be 
Not one, but all mankind's epitome : 



32 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

Stiff in opinions, always in the wrong, 
Was everything by starts, and nothing long ; 
But in the course of one revolving moon 
Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon : 
Then all for women, rhyming, dancing, drinking, 
Besides ten thousand freaks that died in thinking 
Blest madman! who could every hour employ 
With something new to wish or to enjoy ! 
Railing and praising were his usual themes; 
And both, to show his judgment, in extremes : 
So over violent, or over civil, 
That every man with him was god or devil. 
In squandering wealth was his peculiar art; 
JVothing went unrewarded, but desert. 
Beggar'd by fools, whom still he found too late, 
He had his jest, and they had his estate. 

Inversion itself was often turned into a grace in these poets, 
and may be in others, by the power of being superior to it ; 
using it only with a classical air, and as a help lying next to 
them, instead of a salvation which they are obliged to seek. In 
jesting passages also it sometimes gave the rhyme a turn agree- 
ably wilful, or an appearance of choosing what lay in its way ; 
as if a man should pick up a stone to throw at another's head, 
where a less confident foot would have stumbled over it. Such 
is Dr}'den's use of the word might — the mere sign of a tense — 
in his pretended ridicule of the monkish practice of rising to 
sing psalms in the night. 

And much they griev'cl to see so nigh their hall 
The.bird that warn'd St. Peter of his fall ; 
That he should raise his mitred crest on high, 
And clap his wings and call his family 
To sacred rites; and vex th' ethereal powers 
With midnight matins at uncivil hours ; 
Nay more, his quiet neighbors should molest 
Just in the sweetness of their morning rest. 

(What a line full of " another doze " is that !) 

Beast of a bird, ! supinely, when he might 
Lie snug and sleep, to rise before the light! 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 33 

What if his dull forefathers used that cry ? 
Could he not let a bad example die ? 

I the more gladly quote instances like those of Dryden, to 
illustrate the points in question, because they are specimens of 
the very highest kind of writing in the heroic couplet upon sub- 
jects not heroical. As to prosaicalness in general, it is sometimes 
indulged in by young writers on the plea of its being natural ; 
but this is a mere confusion of triviality with propriety, and is 
usually the result of indolence. 

Unsuperjluousness is rather a matter of style in general, than 
of the sound and order of words : and yet versification is so 
much strengthened by it, and so much weakened by its opposite, 
that it could not but come within the category of its requisites. 
When superfluousness of words is not occasioned by overflowing 
animal spirits, as in Beaumont and Fletcher, or by the very 
genius of luxury, as in Spenser (in which cases it is enrichment 
as well as overflow), there is no worse sign for a poet altogether, 
except pure barrenness. Every word that could be taken away 
from a poem, unreferable to either of the above reasons for it, is 
a damage ; and many such are death ; for there is nothing that 
posterity seems so determined to resent as this want of respect 
for its time and trouble. The world is too rich in books to en- 
dure it. Even true poets have died of this Writer's Evil. 
Trifling ones have survived, with scarcely any pretensions but 
the terseness of their trifles. What hope can remain for wordy 
mediocrity ? Let the discerning reader take up any poem, pen 
in hand, for the purpose of discovering how many words he can 
strike out of it that give him no requisite ideas, no relevant ones 
that he cares for, and no reasons for the rhyme beyond its ne- 
cessity, and he will see what blot and havoc he will make in 
many an admired production of its day, — what marks of its 
inevitable fate. Bulky authors in particular, however safe they 
may think themselves, would do well to consider what parts of 
their cargo they might dispense with in their proposed voyage 
down the gulfs of time ; for many a gallant vessel, thought in- 
destructible in its age, has perished ; — many a load of words, 
expected to be in eternal demand, gone to join the wrecks of 

4 



34 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

self-love, or rotted in the warehouses of change and vicissitude. 
I have said the more on this point, because in an age when the 
true inspiration has undoubtedly been re-awakened by Coleridge 
and his fellows, and we have so many new poets coming for- 
ward, it may be as well to give a general warning against that 
tendency to an accumulation and ostentation of thoughts, which 
is meant to be a refutation in full of the pretensions of all 
poetry less cogitabund, whatever may be the requirements of its 
class. Young writers should bear in mind, that even some of 
the very best materials for poetry are not poetry built ; and that 
the smallest marble shrine, of exquisite workmanship, outvalues 
all that architect ever chipped away. Whatever can be dis- 
pensed with is rubbish. 

Variety in versification consists in whatsoever can be done for 
the prevention of monotony, by diversity of stops and cadences, 
distribution of emphasis, and retardation and acceleration of 
time ; for the whole real secret of versification is a musical 
secret, and is not attainable to any vital effect, save by the ear 
of genius. All the more knowledge of feet and numbers, of 
accent and quantity, will no more impart it, than a knowledge 
of the " Guide to Music" will make a Beethoven or a Paisiello. 
It is a matter of sensibility and imagination; of the beautiful in 
poetical passion, accompanied by musical ; of the imperative 
necessity for a pause here, and a cadence there, and a quicker 
or slower utterance in this or that place, created by analogies 
of sound with sense, by the fluctuations of feeling, by the de- 
mands of the gods and graces that visit the poet's harp, as the 
winds visit that of iEolus. The same time and quantity which 
are occasioned by the spiritual part of this secret, thus become 
its formal ones, — not feet and syllables, long and short, iambics 
or trochees ; which are the reduction of it to its less than dry 
bones. You might get, for instance, not only ten and eleven, 
but thirteen or fourteen syllables into a rhyming, as well as 
blank, heroical verse, if time and the feeling permitted ; and in 
irregular measure this is often done ; just as musicians put 
twenty notes in a bar instead of two, quavers instead of minims, 
according as the feeling they are expressing impels them to fill 
up the time with short and hurried notes, or with long ; or as 



WHAT IS POETRY? 35 



the choristers in a cathedral retard or precipitate the words of 
the chaunt, according as the quantity of its notes, and the colon 
which divides the verse of the psalm, conspire to demand it. 
Had the moderns borne this principle in mind when they settled 
the prevailing systems of verse, instead of learning them, as 
they appear to have done, from the first drawling and one-sylla- 
bled notation of the church hymns, we should have retained all 
the advantages of the more numerous versification of the an- 
cients, without being compelled to fancy that there was no alter- 
native for us between our syllabioal uniformity and the hexame- 
ters or other special forms unsuited to our tongues. But to 
leave this question alone, we will present the reader with a few 
sufficing specimens of the difference between monotony and 
variety in versification, first from Pope, Dryden, and Milton, 
and next from Gay and Coleridge. The following is the boasted 
melody of the nevertheless exquisite poet of the " Rape of the 
Lock," — exquisite in his wit and iancy, though not in his num- 
bers. The reader will observe that it is literally see-saw, like 
the rising and falling of a plank, with a light person at one end 
who is jerked up in the briefer time, and a heavier one who is 
set down more leisurely at the other. It is in the otherwise 
charming description of the heroine of that poem : — 

On her white breast — a sparkling cross she wore, 
Which Jews might kiss — and infidels adore ; 
Her lively looks — a sprightly mind disclose, 
Quick as her eyes — and as unfix'd as those ; 
Favors to none — to all she smiles extends, 
Oft she rejects — but never once offends ; 
Bright as the sun — her eyes the gazers strike, 
And like the sun — they shine on all alike ; 
Yet graceful ease — and sweetness void of pride, 
Might hide her faults — if bolles had faults to hide ; 
If to her share — some female errors fall, 
Look on her face — and you'll forget them all. 

Compare with this the description of Iphigenia in one of Dry- 
den's stories from Boccaccio : — 

It happen'd — on a summer's holiday, "] 

That to the greenwood shade — he took his way, > 

For Cymon shunn'd the church — and used not much to pray, J 



36 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 

His quarter-staff — which he could ne'er forsake, 
Hung half before — and half behind his back : 
He trudg'd along — not knowing what he sought, 
And whistled as he went — for want of thought. 

By chance conducted — or by thirst constrain'd, 

The deep recesses of a grove he gain'd ; — 

Where — in a plain defended by a wood, "j 

Crept through the matted grass — a crystal flood, > 

By which — an alabaster fountain stood ; J 

And on the margent of the fount was laid — 

Attended by her slaves — a sleeping maid ; 

Like Dian and her nymphs — when, tir'd with sport, 

To rest by cool Eurotas they resort. — 

The dame herself — the goddess well expressM 

Not more distinguished by her purple vest— 

Than by the charming features of the face — 

And e'en in slumber — a superior grace : 

Her comely limbs — compos'd with decent care, "> 

Her body shaded — by a light cymarr, > 

Her bosom to the view — was only bare ; J 

Where two beginning paps were scarcely spied — 

For yet their places were but signified. — 

The fanning wind upon her bosom blows — i 

To meet the fanning wind — the bosom rose ; > 

The fanning wind — and purling stream — continue her repose. J 

For a further variety take, from the same author's Theodore 
and Honoria, a passage in which the couplets are run one into 
the other, and all of it modulated, like the former, according to 
the feeling demanded by the occasion ; 

Whilst listening to the murmuring leaves he stood — 
More than a mile immers'd within the wood — 
At once the wind was laid.] — The whispering sound 
Was dumb. | — A rising earthquake rock'd the ground. 
With deeper brown the grove was overspread — ^ 
A sudden horror seiz'd his giddy head — > 

And his ears tinkled — and his color fled. J 

Nature was in alarm — Some danger nigh 
Seem'd threaten'd — though unseen to mortal eye. 
Unus'd to fear — he summon'd all his soul, 
And stood collected in hin.self — and whole : 
Not long. — 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 37 



But for a crowning specimen of variety of pause and accent, 
apart from emotion, nothing can surpass the account, in Para- 
dise Lost, of the Devil's search for an accomplice ; — 

There was a place, 
Now not — though Sin — not Time — first wrought the chang-t 
Where Tigris — at the foot of Paradise, 
Into a gulf — shot under ground — till part 
Rose up a fountain by the Tree of Life. 
In with the river sunk — and with it rbse 
Satan — involv'd in rising mist — then sought 
Where to lie hid. — Sea he had search'd — and land 
From Eden over Pdntus — and the pool 
Maeotis — up beyond the river Ob ; 
Downward as far antarctic ; — and in length 
West from Orontes — to the ocean barr'd 
At Darien — thence to the land where flows 
Ganges and Indus. — Thus the orb he roam'd 
With narrow search ; — and with inspection deep 
Consider'd every creature — which of all 
Most opportune mia;ht serve his wiles — and found 
The serpent — subtlest beast of all the field. 

If the reader cast his eye again over this passage, he will not 
find a verse in it which is not varied and harmonized in the most 
remarkable manner. Let him notice in particular that curious 
balancing of the lines in the sixth and tenth verses : — 

In with the river sunk, &c, 

and 

Up beyond the river Ob. 

It might, indeed, be objected to the versification of Milton, 
that it exhibits too constant a perfection of this kind. -It some- 
times forces upon us too great a sense of consciousness on the 
part of the composer. We miss the first sprightly runnings of 
verse, — the ease and sweetness of spontaneity. Milton, I think, 
also too often condenses weight into heaviness. 

Thus much concerning the chief of our two most popular 
measures. The other, called octosyllabic, or the measure of 






38 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



eight syllables, offered such facilities for namby-pamby, that it 
had become a jest as early as the time of Shakspeare, who 
makes Touchstone call it the " butterwoman's rate to market," 
and the " very false gallop of verses." It has been advocated, 
in opposition to the heroic measure, upon the ground that ten 
syllables lead a man into epithets and other superfluities, while 
eight syllables compress him into a sensible and pithy gentle- 
man. But the heroic measure laughs at it. So far from com- 
pressing, it converts one line into two, and sacrifices everything 
to the quick and importunate return of the rhyme. With Dry- 
den, compare Gay, even in the strength of Gay, — 

The wind was high — the window shakes ; 
With sudden start the miser wakes ; 
Along the silent room he stalks, 

(A miser never "stalks;" but a rhyme was desired for 
"walks") 

Looks back, and trembles as he walks : 
Each lock and every bolt he tries, 
In every creek and corner pries. 
Then opes the chest with treasure stor'd, 
And stands in rapture o'er his hoard ; 

(" Hoard" and " treasure stor'd" are just made for one 
another) 

But now, with sudden qualms possess'd, 
He wrings his hands, he beats his breast ; 
By conscience stung, he wildly stares, 
And thus his guilty soul declares. 

And so he denounces his gold, as miser never denounced it ; 
and sighs, because 

Virtue resides on earth no more ! 

Coleridge saw the mistake which had been made with regard 
to this measure, and restored it to the beautiful freedom of which 
it was capable, by calling to mind the liberties allowed its old 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 39 



musical professors the minstrels, and dividing it by time instead 
of syllables ; — by the beat of four into which you might get as 
many syllables as you could, instead of allotting eight syllables 
to the poor time, whatever it might have to say. Fie varied it 
further with alternate rhymes and stanzas, with rests and omis- 
sions precisely analogous to those in music, and rendered it alto- 
gether worthy to utter the manifold thoughts and feelings of 
himself and his lady Christabel. He even ventures, with an 
exquisite sense of solemn strangeness and license (for there is 
witchcraft going forward), to introduce a couplet of blank verse, 
itself as mystically and beautifully modulated as anything in 
the music of Gliick or Weber. 

'Tis the middle of night by the castle clock, 

And the owls have awaken'd the crowing cock ; 

Tu-whit ! — Tu-whoo ! 

And hark, again ! the crowing cock, 

How drowsily he crew. 

Sir Leoline, the baron rich, 

Hath a toothless mastiff bitch ; 

From her kennel beneath the rock 

She maketh answer to the clock 

Fbur fdr thS quarters and twelve f Or the~ hour , 

Ever and aye, by shine and shower, 

Sixteen short howls, not over loud : 

Some say, she sees my lady's shroud. 

7s the night chilly and dark ! 
The night is chilly, but nbt dark. 
The thin grey cloud is spread on high, 
It covers, but not hides, the sky. 
The moon is behind, and at the full, 
And yet she looks both small and dull. 
The night is chilly, the cloud is grey ; 

(These are not superfluities, but mysterious returns of im- 
portunate feeling) 

Tis a month before the month of May, 
And the sp?-ing comes slowly up this way. 
The lovely lady, Christabel, 
Whom her father loves so well, 
What makes her in the wood so late, 
A furlong from the castle-gate ? 



40 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



She had dreams all yesternight 

Of her own betrothed knight; 

And she in the midnight wood will pray 

For the weal of her lover that's far away. 

She stole along, she nothing spoke, 
The sighs she heav'd were soft and low 
And naught was green upon the oak, 

But moss and rarest misletoe ; 

She kneels beneath the huge oak tree, 

And in silence prayeth she. 

The lady sprang up suddenly, 

The lovely lady, Christabel ! 

It moan'd as near as near can be, 

But what it is, she cannot tell, 

On the other side it seems to be 

Of the huge, broad-breasted, old oak tree 

The night is chill, the forest bare ; 
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak ' 

(This " bleak moaning " is a witch's) 

There is not wind enough in the air 
To move away the ringlet curl 
From the lovely lady's cheek — 
There is not wind enough to twirl 
The bne red leaf, the last 6f Its clan, 
That dance's as bftSn as dance it can, 
Hanging sd light and hanging sd high, 
On the tbpmost twig that lodks up St thS sky 

Hush, beating heart of Christabel ! 
Jesu Maria, shield her well ! 
She folded her arms beneath her cloak, 
And stole to the other side of the oak. 
What sees she there ? 

There she sees a damsel bright, 
Dressed in a robe of silken white, 
That shadowy in the moonlight shone : 
The neck that made that white robe wan, 
Her stately neck and arms were bare : 
Her blue-vein'd feet unsandall'd were ; 
And wildly glitter'd, here and there, 
The gems entangled in her hair. 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 41 

I guess 'twas frightful there to see 
Jl lady so richly clad as she — 
Beautiful exceedingly. 

The principle of Variety in Uniformity is here worked out in 
a style "beyond the reach of art." Every thing is diversified 
according to the demand of the moment, of the sounds, the 
sights, the emotions; the very uniformity of the outline is gently 
varied ; and yet we feel that the whole is one and of the same 
character, the single and sweet unconsciousness of the heroine 
making all the rest seem more conscious, and ghastly, and ex- 
pectant. It is thus that versification itself becomes part of the 
sentiment of a poem, and vindicates the pains that have been 
taken to show its importance. I know of no very fine versifica- 
tion unaccompanied with fine poetry ; no poetry of a mean order 
accompanied with verse of the highest. 

As to Rhyme, which might be thought too insignificant to 
mention, it is not at all so. The universal consent of modern 
Europe, and of the East in all ages, has made it one of the mu- 
sical beauties of verse for all poetry but epic and dramatic, and 
even for the former with Southern Europe, — a sustainment for 
the enthusiasm, and a demand to enjoy. The mastery of it con- 
sists in never writing it for its own sake, or at least never ap- 
pearing to do so ; in knowing how to vary it, to give it novelty, 
to render it more or less strong, to divide it (when not in coup- 
lets) at the proper intervals, to repeat it many times where lux- 
ury or animal spirits demand it (see an instance in Titania's 
speech to the Fairies), to impress an affecting or startling remark 
with it, and to make it, in comic poetry, a new and surprising 
addition to the jest. 

Large was his bounty and his soul sincere, 

Heav'n did a recompense as largely send ; 
He gave to misery all he had, a tear ; 

He gain'd from heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend. 

Gray's Elegy. 

The fops are proud of scandal ; for they cry 
At every lewd, low character, " That's I" 

Dryden's Prologue to the Pilgrim 



4'2 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



What makes all doctrines plain and clear ? 
About two hundred pounds a year. 
And that which was proved true before, 
Prove false again ? Two hundred more. 

Compound for sins they are inclin'd to, 
By damning those they have no mind to. 



Stor'd with deletery med'cines, 



Hudibras. 



Which whosoever took is dead since. 



Id. 



Sometimes it is a grace in a master like But er to force his 
rhyme, thus showing a laughing wilful power over the most 
stubborn materials : — 



Win 
The women, and make them draw in 
The men, as Indians wjth & female 
Tame elephant inveigle the male. 



Hudibras. 



He made an instrument to know 

If the moon shines at full or no ; 

That would, as soon as e'er she shone, straight 

Whether 'twere day or night demonstrate ; 

Tell what her diameter to an inch is, 

And prove that she's not made of green cheese. 

Id. 

Pronounce it, by all means, grinches, to make the joke more 
wilful. The happiest triple rhyme, Derhaps, that ever was 
written, is in Don Juan : — 

But oh ! ye lords of ladies intellectual, 

Inform us truly, — haven't they hen-peck'd you all 1 

The sweepingness of the assumption completes the flowing 
breadth of effect. 

Dryden confessed that a rhyme often gave him a thought. 
Probably the happy word " sprung," in the following passage 
from Ben Jonson, was suggested by it ; but then the poet must 
have had the feeling in him. 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 43 



— Let our trumpets sound, 
And cleave both air and ground 
With beating of our drums. 

Let every lyre be strung, 
Harp, lute, theorbo, sprung 
With touch of dainty thumbs. 

Boileau's trick for appearing to rhyme naturally was to com- 
pose the second line of his couplet first ! which gives one the 
crowning idea of the " artificial school of poetry." Perhaps 
the most perfect master of rhyme, the easiest and most abundant, 
was the greatest writer of comedy that the world has seen, — 
Moliere. 

If a young reader should ask, after all, What is the quickest 
way of knowing bad poets from good, the best poets from the 
next best, and so on ? the answer is, the only and two-fold way ; 
first, the perusal of the best poets with the greatest attention ; 
and, second, the cultivation of that love of truth and beauty 
which made them what they are. Every true reader of poetry 
partakes a more than ordinary portion of the poetic nature ; and 
no one can be completely such, who does not love, or take an 
interest in, everything that interests the poet, from the firmament 
to the daisy, — from the highest heart of man to the most pitiable 
of the low. It is a good practice to read with pen in hand, 
marking what is liked or doubted. It rivets the attention, re- 
alizes the greatest amount of enjoyment, and facilitates refer- 
ence. It enables the reader also, from time to time, to see what 
progress he makes with his own mind, and how it grows up 
towards the stature of its exalter. 

If the same person should ask, What class of poetry is the 
highest ? I should say, undoubtedly, the Epic ; for it includes 
the drama, with narration besides ; or the speaking and action 
of the characters, with the speaking of the poet himself, whose 
utmost address is taxed to relate all well for so long a time, par- 
ticularly in the passages least sustained by enthusiasm. Whether 
this class lias included the greatest poet, is another question still 
under trial ; for Shakspeare perplexes all such verdicts, even 
when the claimant is Homer; though, if a judgment may be 
drawn from his early narratives (Venus and Adonis, and the 



44 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION 



Rape of Lucrece), it is to be doubted whether even Shakspeare 
could have told a story like Homer, owing to that incessant ac- 
tivity and superfcetation of thought, a little less of which might 
be occasionally desired even in his plays ; — if it were possible, 
once possessing anything of his, to wish it away. Next to 
Homer and Shakspeare come such narrators as the less univer- 
sal, but still intenser Dante ; Milton, with his dignified imagina- 
tion ; the universal, profoundly simple Chaucer ; and luxuriant, 
remote Spenser — immortal child in poetry's most poetic solitudes : 
then the great second-rate dramatists ; unless those who are 
better acquainted with Greek tragedy than I am, demand a place 
for them before Chaucer : then the airy yet robust universality 
of Ariosto ; the hearty, out-of-door nature of Theocritus, also a 
universalist ; the finest lyrical poets (who only take short flights, 
compared with the narrators) ; the purely contemplative poets 
who have more thought than feeling ; the descriptive, satirical, 
didactic, epigrammatic. It is to be borne in mind, however, 
that the first poet of an inferior class may be superior to follow- 
ers in the train of a higher one, though the superiority is by no 
means to be taken for granted ; otherwise Pope would be supe- 
rior to Fletcher, and Butler to Pope. Imagination, teeming with 
action and character, makes the greatest poets ; feeling and 
thought the next ; fancy (by itself) the next ; wit the last. 
Thought by itself makes no poet at all ; for the mere conclu- 
sions of the understanding can at best be only so many intellec- 
tual matters of fact. Feeling, even destitute of conscious 
thought, stands a far better poetical chance ; feeling being a sort 
of thought without the process of thinking, — a grasper of the 
truth without seeing it. And what is very remarkable, feeling 
seldom makes the blunders that thought does. An idle distinc- 
tion has been made between taste and judgment. Taste is the 
very maker of judgment. Put an artificial fruit in your mouth, 
or only handle it, and you will soon perceive the difference be- 
tween judging from taste or tact, and judging from the abstract 
figment called judgment. The latter does but throw you into 
guesses and doubts. Hence the conceits that astonish us in the 
gravest, and even subtlest thinkers, whose taste is not propor- 
tionate to their mental perceptions ; men like Donne, for instance ; 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 45 



who, apart from accidental personal impressions, seem to look at 
nothing as it really is, but only as to what may be thought of it. 
Hence, on the other hand, the delightfulness of those poets who 
never violate truth of feeling, whether in things real or imagi- 
nary ; who are always consistent with their object and its re- 
quirements ; and who run the great round of nature, not to 
perplex and be perplexed, but to make themselves and us happy. 
And luckily, delightfulness is not incompatible with greatness, 
willing soever as men may be in their present imperfect state to 
set the power to subjugate above the power to please. Truth, 
of any great kind whatsoever, makes great writing. This is 
the reason why such poets as Ariosto, though not writing with a 
constant detail of thought and feeling like Dante, are justly 
considered great as well as delightful. Their greatness proves 
itself by the same truth of nature, and sustained power, 
though in a different way. Their action is not so crowded 
and weighty ; their sphere has more territories less fertile ; 
but it has enchantments of its own, which excess of thought 
would spoil, — luxuries, laughing graces, animal spirits ; 
and not to recognize the beauty and greatness of these, treated 
as they treat them, is simply to be defective in sympathy. Ev- 
ery planet is not Mars or Saturn. There is also Venus and 
Mercury. There is one genius of the south, and another of the 
north, and others uniting both. The reader who is too thought- 
less or too sensitive to like intensity of any sort, and he who is 
too thoughtful or too dull to like anything but the greatest possi- 
ble stimulus of reflection or passion, are equally wanting in 
complexional fitness for a thorough enjoyment of books. Ari- 
osto occasionally says as fine things as Dante, and Spenser as 
Shakspeare ; but the business of both is to enjoy ; and in order 
to partake their enjoyment to its full extent, you must feel what 
poetry is in the general as well as the particular, must be aware 
that there are different songs of the spheres, some fuller of notes, 
and others of a sustained delight ; and as the former keep you 
perpetually alive to thought or passion, so from the latter you 
receive a constant harmonious sense of truth and beauty, more 
agreeable perhaps on the whole, though less exciting. Ariosto, 
for instance, does not tell a story with the brevity and concen- 



46 AN ANSWER 10 THE QUESTION 

trated passion of Dante ; every sentence is not so full of matter, 
nor the style so removed from the indifference of prose ; yet you 
are charmed with a truth of another sort, equally characteristic 
of the writer, equally drawn from nature, and substituting a 
healthy sense of enjoyment for intenser emotion. Exclusiveness 
of liking for this or that mode of truth, only shows, either that a 
reader's perceptions are limited, or that he would sacrifice 
truth itself to his favorite form of it. Sir Walter Raleigh, who 
was as tranchant with his pen as his sword, hailed the Faerie 
Queene of his friend Spenser in verses in which he said that 
" Petrarch" was thenceforward to be no more heard of ; and 
that in all English poetry, there was nothing he counted " of any 
price" but the effusions of the new author. Yet Petrarch is stili 
living ; Chaucer was not abolished by Sir Walter ; and Shaks- 
peare is thought somewhat valuable. A botanist might as well 
have said, that myrtles and oaks were to disappear, because 
acacias had come up. It is with the poet's creations, as with 
nature's, great or small. Wherever truth and beauty, whatever 
their amount, can be worthily shaped into verse, and answer to 
some demand for it in our hearts, there poetry is to be found ; 
whether in productions grand and beautiful as some great 
event, or some mighty, leafy solitude, or no bigger and more 
pretending than a sweet face or a bunch of violets ; whether in 
Homer's epic or Gray's Elegy, in the enchanted gardens of 
Ariosto and Spenser, or the very pot-herbs of the Schoolmistress 
of Shenstone, the balms of the simplicity of a cottage. Not to 
know and feel this, is to be deficient in the universality of Na- 
ture herself, who is a poetess on the smallest as well as the 
largest scale, and who calls upon us to admire all her produc- 
tions : not indeed with the same degree of admiration, but with 
no refusal of it, except to defect. 

I cannot draw this essay towards its conclusion better than 
with three memorable words of Milton ; who has said, that poetry, 
in comparison with science, is " simple, sensuous, and passion- 
ate." By simple, he means unperplexed and self-evident ; by 
sensuous, genial and full of imagery ; by passionate, excited 
and enthusiastic. I am aware that different constructions have 
been put on some of these words ; but the context seems to me 



WHAT IS POETRY ? 47 



to necessitate those before us. I quote, however, not from the 
original, but from an extract in the Remarks on Paradise Lost 
by Richardson. 

What the poet has to cultivate above all things is love and 
truth ; — what he has to avoid, like poison, is the fleeting and the 
false. He will get no good by proposing to be " in earnest at 
the moment." His earnestness must be innate and habitual ; 
born with him, and felt to be his most precious inheritance. " I 
expect neither profit nor general fame by my writings," says 
Coleridge, in the Preface to his Poems ; " and I consider my- 
self as having been amply repaid without either. Poetry has 
been to me its ' own exceeding great reward :' it has soothed my 
afflictions ; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has 
endeared solitude ; and it has given me the habit of wishing to 
discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and sur- 
rounds me." — Pickering's edition, p. 10. 

" Poetry," says Shelley, " lifts the veil from the hidden 
beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they 
were not familiar. It reproduces all that it represents ; and the 
impersonations clothed in its Elysian light stand thenceforward 
in the minds of those who have once contemplated them, as me- 
morials of that gentle and exalted content which extends itself 
over all thoughts and actions with which it co-exists. The 
great secret of morals is love, or a going out of our own nature, 
and an identification of ourselves with the beautiful which ex- 
ists in thought, action, or person, not our own. A man, to be 
greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively ; he 
must put himself in the place of another, and of many others : 
the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. 
The great instrument of moral good is imagination ; and poetry 
administers to the effect by acting upon the cause." — Essays 
and Letters, vol i., p. 16. 

I would not willingly say anything after perorations like 
these ; but as treatises on poetry may chance to have auditors 
who think themselves called upon to vindicate the superiority of 
what is termed useful knowledge, it may be as well to add, that 
if the poet may be allowed to pique himself on any one thing 
more than another, compared with those who undervalue him, 



43 AN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION WHAT IS POETRY ? 

it is on that power of undervaluing nobody, and no attainments 
different from his own, which is given him by the very faculty 
of imagination they despise. The greater includes the less. 
They do not see that their inability to comprehend him argues 
the smaller capacity. No man recognizes the worth of utility 
more than the poet : he only desires that the meaning of the 
term may not come short of its greatness, and exclude the no- 
blest necessities of his fellow-creatures. He is quite as much 
pleased, for instance, with the facilities for rapid conveyance 
afforded him by the railroad, as the dullest confiner of its ad- 
vantages to that single idea, or as the greatest two-idead man 
who varies that single idea with hugginc; himself on his " but- 

O Do o 

tons " or his good dinner. But he sees also the beauty of the 
country through which he passes, of the towns, of the heavens, 
of the steam-engine itself, thundering and fuming along like a 
magic horse, of the affections that are carrying, perhaps, hall 
the passengers on their journey, nay, of those of the great two- 
idead man ; and, beyond all this, he discerns the incalculable 
amount of good, and knowledge, and refinement, and mutual 
consideration, which this wonderful invention is fitted to circu- 
late over the globe, perhaps to the displacement of war itself, 
and certainly to the diffusion of millions of enjoyments. 

" And a button-maker, after all, invented it !" cries our 
friend. 

Pardon me — it was a nobleman. A button-maker may be a 
very excellent, and a very poetical man, too, and yet not have 
been the first man visited by a sense of the gigantic powers of 
the combination of water and fire. It was a nobleman who first 
thought of this most poetical bit of science. It was a nobleman 
who first thought of it, — a captain who first tried it, — and a but- 
ton-maker who perfected it. And he who put the nobleman on 
such thoughts, was the great philosopher, Bacon, who said that 
poetry had " something divine in it," and was necessary to the 
satisfaction of the human mind. 



SPENSER. 49 



SPENSER, 

BORN, PROBABLY, ABOUT THE YEAR 1553- 
DIED, 1598. 



Three things must be conceded to the objectors against this 
divine poet ; first, that he wrote a good deal of allegory ; second, 
Jhat he has a great many superfluous words ; third, that he was 
very fond of alliteration. He is accused also (by little boys) of 
obsolete words and spelling ; and it must be added, that he often 
forces his rhymes ; nay, spells them in an arbitrary manner on 
purpose to make them fit. In short, he has a variety of faults, 
real or supposed, that would be intolerable in writers in general. 
This is true. The answer is, that his genius not only makes 
amends for all, but overlays them, and makes them beautiful, 
with " riches fineless." When acquaintance with him is once 
begun, he repels none but the anti-poetical. Others may not be 
able to read him continuously ; but more or less, and as an 
enchanted stream " to dip into," they will read him always. 

In Spenser's time, orthography was unsettled. Pronunciation 
is always so. The great poet, therefore, sometimes spells his 
words, whether rhymed or otherwise, in a manner apparently 
arbitrary, for the purpose of inducing the reader to give them the 
sound fittest for the sense. Alliteration, which, as a ground of 
melody, had been a principle in Anglo-Saxon verse, continued 
such a favorite with old English poets whom Spenser loved, that, 
as late as the reign of Edward the Third, it stood in the place 
of rhyme itself. Our author turns it to beautiful account. 
Superfluousness, though eschewed with a fine instinct by Chau- 
cer in some of his latest works, where the narrative was fullest 
of action and character, abounded in his others; and, in spite of 

5 



60 SPENSER. 

the classics, it had not been recognized as a fault in Spenser's 
time, when books were still rare, and a writer thought himself 
bound to pour out all he felt and knew. It accorded also with 
his genius ; and in him is not an excess of weakness, but of will 
and luxury. And as to allegory, it was not only the taste of 
the day, originating in gorgeous pageants of church and state, 
but in Spenser's hands it became such an embodiment of poetry 
itself, that its objectors really deserve no better answer than has 
been given them by Mr. Hazlitt, who asks, if they thought the 
allegory would " bite them." The passage will be found a 
little further on. 

Spenser's great characteristic is poetic luxury. If you goto 
him for a story, you will be disappointed ; if for a style, clas- 
sical or concise, the point against him is conceded; if for pathos, 
you must weep for personages half- real and too beautiful ; if for 
mirth, you must laugh out of good breeding, and because it 
pleaseth the great, sequestered man, to be facetious. But if you 
love poetry well enough to enjoy it for its own sake, let no evil 
reports of its " allegory" deter you from his acquaintance, for 
great will be your loss. His allegory itself is but one part 
allegory, and nine parts beauty and enjoyment ; sometimes an 
excels of flesh and blood. His forced rhymes, and his sentences 
written to fill up, which in a less poet would be intolerable, are 
accompanied with such endless grace and dreaming pleasure, 
fit to 

Make heaven drowsy with the harmony, 

that although it is to be no more expected of anybody to read 
him through at once, than to wander days and nights in a forest, 
thinking of nothing else, yet any true lover of poetry, when he 
comes to know him, would as soon quarrel with repose on the 
summer grass. You may get up and go away, but will return 
next day at noon to listen to his waterfalls, and to see, " with 
half-shut eye," his visions of knights and nymphs, his gods and 
goddesses, whom he brought down to earth in immortal beauty. 
Spenser, in some respects, is more southern than the south 
itself. Dante, but for the covered heat which occasionally con- 



SPENSER. 51 



centrates the utmost sweetness as well as venom, would be quite 
n®rthern compared with him. He is more luxurious than Ari- 
osto or Tasso, more haunted with the presence of beauty. His 
wholesale poetical belief, mixing up all creeds and mythologies, 
but with less violence, resembles that of Dante and Boccaccio ; 
and it gives the compound the better warrant in the more agree- 
able impression. Then his versification is almost perpetual 
honey. 

Spenser is the farthest removed from the ordinary cares and 
haunts of the world of all the poets that ever wrote, except perhaps 
Ovid ; and this, which is the reason why mere men of business and 
the world do not like him, constitutes his most bewitching charm 
with the poetical. He is not so great a poet as Shakspeare or 
Dante ; — he has less imagination, though more fancy, than Mil- 
ton. He does not see things so purely in their elements as 
Dante ; neither can he combine their elements like Shakspeare, 
nor bring such frequent intensities of words, or of wholesale 
imaginative sympathy, to bear upon his subject as any one of 
them ; though he has given noble diffuser instances of the latter 
in his Una, and his Mammon, and his accounts of Jealousy and 
Despair. 

But when you are " over-informed " with thought and passion 
in Shakspeare, when Milton's mighty grandeurs oppress you, or 
are found mixed with painful absurdities, or when the world is 
vexatious and tiresome,, and you have had enough of your own 
vanities or struggles in it, or when " house and land " them- 
selves are "gone and spent," and your riches must lie in the 
regions of the " unknown," then Spenser is " most excellent." 
His remoteness from every-day life is the reason perhaps why 
Somers and Chatham admired him ; and his possession of every 
kind of imaginary wealth completes his charm with his brother 
poets. Take him in short for what he is, whether greater or less 
than his fellows, the poetical faculty is so abundantly and beau- 
tifully predominant in him above every other, though he had pas- 
sion, and thought, and plenty of ethics, and was as learned a 
man as Ben Jonson, perhaps as Milton himself, that he has 
always been felt by his countrymen to be what Charles Lamb 
called him, the " Poet's Poet." He has had more idolatry and 



52 SPENSER. 



imitation from his brethren than all the rest put together. The 
old undramatic poets, Drayton, Browne, Drummond, Giles and 
Phineas Fletcher, were as full of him as the dramatic were of 
Shakspeare. Milton studied and used him, calling him the 
" sage and serious Spenser;" and adding, that he "dared be 
known to think him a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas." 
Cowley said that he became a poet by reading him. Dryden 
claimed him for a master. Pope said he read him with as much 
pleasure when he was old, as young. Collins and Gray loved 
him ; Thomson, Shenstone, and a host of inferior writers, ex- 
pressly imitated him ; Burns, Byron, Shelley, and Keats made 
use of his stanza ; Coleridge eulogized him ; and he is as dear 
to the best living poets as he was to their predecessors. Spenser 
has stood all the changes in critical opinion ; all the logical and 
formal conclusions of the understanding, as opposed to imagina- 
tion and lasting sympathy. Plobbes in vain attempted to depose 
him in favor of Davenant's Gondibert. Locke and his friend 
Molyneux to no purpose preferred Blackmore ! Hume, acute 
and encroaching philosopher as he was, but not so universal in 
his philosophy as great poets, hurt Spenser's reputation with 
none but the French (who did not know him) ; and, by way of 
involuntary amends for the endeavor, he set up for poets such 
men as Wilkie and Blacklock ! In vain, in vain. " In spite of 
philosophy and fashion," says a better critic of that day (Bishop 
Hurd), "'Faerie Spenser' still ranks highest amongst the 
poets ; I mean with all those who are either of that house, or 
have any kindness for it. Earth-born critics may blaspheme ; 

But all the gods are ravish'd with delight 

Of his celestial song and music's wondrous might." 

Remarks on the Plan and Conduct of the Faerie Queene (inTodd's edition of Spenser, vol. 

ii., p. 183). 

" In reading Spenser," says Warton, " if the critic is not 
satisfied, yet the reader is transported." (Id., p. 65.) 

" Spenser," observes Coleridge, * has the wit of the southern, 
with the deeper inwardness of the northern genius. Take espe- 
cial note of the marvellous independence and true imaginative 
absence of all particular space or time in the Faerie Queene. 



SPENSER. 53 

It is in the domains neither of history nor geography : it is 
ignorant of all artificial boundary, all material obstacles ; it ia 
truly in land of Faerie, that is, of mental space. The poet has 
placed you in a dream, a charmed sleep : and you neither wish 
nor have the power to inquire, where you are, or how you got 
there." Literary Remains, vol. i., p. 94. 

" In reading the Faerie Queene," says Hazlitt, " you see a 
little withered old man by a wood-side opening a wicket, a giant, 
and a dwarf lagging far behind, a damsel in a boat upon an en- 
chanted lake, wood-nymphs and satyrs : and all of a sudden you 
are transported into a lofty palace, with tapers burning, amidst 
knights and ladies, with dance and revelry, and song, ' and mask 
and antique pageantry.'- — But some people will say that all this 
may be very fine, but they cannot understand it on account of 
the allegory. They are afraid of the allegory, as if they 
thought it would bite them ; they look at it as a child looks at a 
painted dragon, and think that it will strangle them in its shining 
folds. This is very idle. If they do not meddle with the alle- 
gory, the allegory will not meddle with them. Without minding 
it at all the whole is as plain as a pike-staff. It might as well 
be pretended, that we cannot see Poussin's pictures for the alle- 
gory, as that the allegory prevents us from understanding 
Spenser." Lectures on the English Poets (Templeman's Edi 
tion, 12mo., p. 67). 



54 SPENSER. 



ARCHIMAGO'S HERMITAGE, 

AND 

THE HOUSE OF MORPHEUS. 

Archimago, a hypocritical magician, lures Una and the Red-cross Knight 
into his abode; and while they are asleep, sends to Morpheus, the god of 
sleep, for a false dream, to produce discord between them. 

A little lowly hermitage it was 
Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side, 
Far from resort of people, that did pass 
In travel to and fro : a little wide 
There was a holy chapel edified, 
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say 
His holy things each morn and eventide ; 
Thereby a crystal stream did gently play 
Which from a sacred fountain welled forth alwayA 

Arrived there the little house they fill,2 
Nor look for entertainment where none was ,3 
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will . 
The noblest mind the best contentment has.* 
With fair discourse the evening so they pass, 
For that old man of pleasing words had store, 
And well could file his tongue as smooth as glass : 
He told of saints and popes, and evermore 
He strew' d an Ave Mary, after and before. 

The drooping night thus creepeth on them fast ; 

And the sad humor, loading their eye-lids, 

As messenger of Morpheus, on them cast 

Sweet slumbering dew ; the which to sleep them bids 

Unto their lodgings then his guests he rids ; 

Where, when all drown'd in deadly sleep he finds, 

He to his study goes, and their amids' 

His magic books and arts of sundry kinds, 

He seeks out mighty charms to trouble sleepy minds. 



SPENSER. 55 



Then choosing out few words most horrible 
(Let none them read!) 5 thereof did verses frame, 
With which, and other spells like terrible, 
He bad awake black Pluto's grisly dame, 
And cursed Heaven ; and spake reproachful shame 
Of highest God, the Lord of life and light: 
A bold bad man, that dar'd to call by name 
Great Gorgon, 6 prince of darkness and dead night ; 
At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight. 

And forth he call'd out of deep darkness dread 
Legions of sprites, the which, like little flies,' 
Fluttering about his ever damned head, 
Await where to their service he applies^ 
To aid his friends, or fray his enemies ; 
Of those he chose out two, the falsest two 
And fittest for to forge true-seeming lies ; 
The one of them he gave a message to, 
The other by himself staid other work to do 

He maketh speedy way through spersed air, 
And through the world of waters wide and deep? 
To Morpheus' house doth hastily repair. — 9 
Amid the bowels of the earth full steep, 
And low, where dawning day doth never peep, 
His dwelling is ; there Tethys his wet bed 
Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steep 
In silver dew his ever-drooping head, 
While sad night over him her mantle black doth spread 

Whose double gates he findeth locked fast ; 
The one fair fram'd of burnish'd ivory, 
The other all with silver overcast ; 
And wakeful dogs before them far do lie, 
Watching to banish Care their enemy, 
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle Sleep, 
By them the sprite doth pass in quietly 
And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deep 
In drowsy fit he finds ; of nothing he takes keep. 

And more to lull him in his slumber soft, 

A trickling stream, from high rock tumbling down, 

And ever drizzling ram upon the loft, 

Jtfix'd with a murmuring wind, much like the sou 

Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swoun : 



56 SPENSER. 



JVo other noise, nor people's troublous cries, 
As still are wont f annoy the walled town, 
Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet lies, 
Wrapt in eternal silence, far from enemies. l & 

The messenger approaching to him spake 

But his waste words return'd to him in vain 

So sound he slept, that naught might him awake. 

Then rudely he him thrust, and push'd with pain, 

Whereat he 'gan to stretch : but he again 

Shook him so hard, that forced him to speak 

As one then in a dream, whose drier brain 

Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weak, 

He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence break 

The sprite then 'gan more boldly him to wake, 
And threaten'd unto him the dreaded name 
Of Hecate : whereat he 'gan to quake, 
And lifting up his lumpish head, with blame 
Half angry ask£d him, for what he came. 
" Hither," quoth he, " me Archimago sent : 
He that the stubborn sprites can wisely tame ; 
He bids thee to him send for his intent 
A fit false dream, that can delude the sleeper's sent." 11 

The god obeyed ; and calling forth straightway 
A divers dream 12 out of his prison dark, 
Deliver' d it to him, and down did lay 
His heavy head, devoid of careful cark ; 
Whose senses all were straight benumb'd and stark. 
He, back returning by the ivory door, 
Remounted up as light as cheerful lark ; 
JLnd on his little wings the dream he bore 
In haste unto his lord, where he him left afore. 

1 Welle-d forth alway. 

The modulation of this charming stanza is exquisite. Let 
us divide it into its pauses, and see what we have been hear- 
ing :— 

A little lowly hermitage it was | 
Down in a dale, | hard by a forest's side, | 
Far from resort of people | that did pass 
In travel to and fro : | a little wide j 



SPENSER. 57 

There was a holy chapel edified, | 
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say 
His holy things | each morn and eventide ; 
Thereby a crystal stream did gently play | 
Which from a sacred fountain welled forth alway. 

Mark the variety of pauses, of the accentuation of the sylla- 
bles and of the intonation of the vowels ; all closing in that ex- 
quisite last line, as soft and continuous as the water it describes. 
The repetition of the words little and holy' add to the sacred 
snugness of the abode. We are to fancy the little tenement on 
the skirts of a forest, that is to say, within, but not deeply 
within, the trees ; the chapel is near it, but not close to it, 
more embowered ; and the rivulet may be supposed to circuit 
both chapel and hermitage, running partly under the trees be- 
tween mossy and flowery banks, for hermits were great cullers 
of simples ; and though Archimago was a false hermit, we are 
to suppose him living in a true hermitage. It is one of those 
pictures which remain for ever in the memory ; and the suc- 
ceeding stanza is worthy of it. 

2 Arrived there the little house they fiU. 

Not literally the house, but the apartment as a specimen of 
the house ; for we see by what follows that the hermitage must 
have contained at least four rooms ; one in which the knight 
and the lady were introduced, two more for their bed-chambers, 
and a fourth for the magician's study. 

3 Nor look for entertainment where none was. 

" Entertainment" is here used in the restricted sense of treat- 
ment as regards food and accommodation ; according to the 
old inscription over inn-doors — " Entertainment for man and 
horse." 

4 The noblest mind the best contentment has. 

This is one of Spenser's many noble sentiments expressed in 
as noble single lines, as if made to be recorded in the copy-books 



58 SPENSER. 



of full-grown memories. As, for example, one which he is fond 
of repeating : — 

No service loathsome to a gentle kind. 
Entire affection scorneth nicer hands. 
True love loathes disdainful nicety. 

A.nd that fine Alexandrine, — 

Weak body well is chang'd for mind's redoubled force. 

And another, which Milton has imitated in Comus — 

Virtue gives herself light in darkness for to wade. 

5 " Let none them read." — As if we could ! And yet while we 
smile at the impossibility, we delight in this solemn injunction of 
the Poet's, so child-like, and full of the imaginative sense of the 
truth of what he is saying. 

6 A bold bad man that dared to call by name 
Great Gorgon. 

This is the ineffable personage, whom Milton, with a propriety 
equally classical and poetical, designates as 

The dreaded name 

Of Demogorgon. 

Par. Lost, Book ii., v. 9G5. 

Ancient believers apprehended such dreadful consequences 
from the mention of him, that his worst and most potent invokers 
are represented as fearful of it; nor am I aware that any poet, 
Greek or Latin, has done it, though learned commentators on 
Spenser imply otherwise. In the passages they allude to, in 
Lucan and Statius, there is no name uttered. The adjuration 
is always made by a periphrasis. This circumstance is noticed 
by Boccaccio, who has given by far the best, and indeed, I be- 
lieve, the only account of this very rare god, except what is 
abridged from his pages in a modern Italian mythology, and fur- 
nished by his own authorities, Lactantius and Theodontus, the 
latter an author now lost. Ben Jonson calls him " Boccaccio's 
Demogorgon." The passage is in the first book of his Genea- 



SPENSER. 59 



logia Deorum, a work of prodigious erudition for that age, and 
full of the gusto of a man of genius. According to Boccaccio, 
Demogorgon (Spirit Earthworker) was the great deity of the 
rustical Arcadians, and the creator of all things out of brute 
matter. He describes him as a pale and sordid-looking wretch, 
inhabiting the centre of the earth, all over moss and dirt, squal- 
idly wet, and emitting an earthy smell ; and he laughs at the 
credulity of the ancients in thinking to make a god of such a fel- 
low. He is very glad, however, to talk about him ; and doubt- 
less had a lurking respect for him, inasmuch as mud and dirt 
are among the elements of things material, and therefore par- 
take of a certain mystery and divineness. 

7 Legions of sprites, the which like little flies. 

Flies are old embodiments of evil spirits ; — Anacreon forbids us 
to call them incarnations, in reminding us that insects are flesh- 
less and bloodless, (ti'uiitooagxu. Beelzebub signifies the Lord of 
Flics. 

8 The world of waters wide and deep. 

How complete a sense of the ocean under one of its aspects ! 
Spenser had often been at sea, and his pictures of it, or in con- 
nexion with it, are frequent and fine accordingly, superior per- 
haps to those of any other English poet, Milton certainly, ex- 
cept in that one famous imaginative passage in which he de- 
scribes a fleet at a distance as seeming to " hang in the clouds." 
And Shakspearc throws himself wonderfully into a storm at sea, 
as if he had been in the thick of it ; though it is not known that 
he ever quitted the land. But nobody talks so much about the 
sea, or its inhabitants, or its voyagers, as Spenser. He was 
well acquainted with the Irish Channel. Coleridge observes, 
(ut sup.) that "one of Spenser's arts is that of alliteration, which 
he uses with great effect in doubling the impression of an image." 
The verse above noticed is a beautiful example. 

9 To Morpheus' house doth hastily repair, &c 

Spenser's earth is not the Homeric earth, a circular flat, or disc, 



60 SPENSER. 

studded with mountains, and encompassed with the " ocean 
stream." Neither is it in all cases a globe. We must take 
his cosmography as we find, and as he wants it ; that is to say, 
poetically, and according to the feeling required by the matter 
in hand. In the present instance, we are to suppose a precipi- 
tous country striking gloomily and far downwards to a cav- 
ernous sea-shore, in which the bed of Morpheus is placed, the 
^nds of its curtains dipping and fluctuating in the water, which 
reaches it from underground. The door is towards a flat on the 
fand-side, with dogs lying " far before it ;" and the moonbeams 
reach it, though the sun never does. The passage is imitated 
from Ovid (Lib. ii., ver. 592), but with wonderful concentration, 
and superior home appeal to the imagination, Ovid will have no 
dogs, nor any sound at all but that of Lethe rippling over its 
pebbles. Spenser has dogs, but afar off, and a lulling sound 
overhead of wind and rain. These are the sounds that men de- 
light to hear in the intervals of their own sleep. 

J9 Wrapt in eternal silence, far from enemies. 

The modulation of this most beautiful stanza (perfect, except 
for the word tumbling) is equal to that of the one describing the 
hermitage, and not the less so for being less varied both in pauses 
and in vowels, the subject demanding a greater monotony. A 
poetical reader need hardly be told, that he should humor such 
verses with a corresponding tone in the recital. Indeed it is 
difficult to read them without lowering or deepening the voice, 
as though we were going to bed ourselves, or thinking of the 
ruiny night that lulled us. A long rest at the happy pause in 
the last line, and then a strong accent on the word far, put us 
in }>ossession of all the remoteness of the scene ; — and it is im- 
proved, if we make a similar pause at Iteard : 

No other noise, or people's troublous cries, 
As still are wont to annoy the walled town, 
Might there be heard ; — but careless quiet lies, 
Wrapt in eternal silence, — far from enemies. 

Upton, one of Spenser's commentators, in reference to the 



SPENSER. 61 



trickling stream, has quoted in his note on this passage some fine 
lines from Chaucer, in which, describing the "dark valley" of 
Sleep, the poet says there was nothing whatsoever in the place, 
save that, 

A few wells 
Came running fro the clyffes adowne, 
That made a deadly sleeping sowne. 

Sowne (in the old spelling) is also Spenser's word. In the text 
of the present volume it is written soun', to show that it is the 
same as the word sound without the d ; — like the French and 
Italian, son, suono. 

" "Tis hardly possible," says Upton, " for a more picturesque 
description to come from a poet or a painter than this whole 
magical scene." — See Todd's Variorum Spenser, vol. ii., p. 38. 

Meantime, the magician has been moulding a shape of air to 
represent the 'virtuous mistress of the knight ; and when the 
dream arrives, he sends them both to deceive him, the one sitting 
by his head and abusing " the organs of his fancy" (as Milton 
says of the devil with Eve), and the other behaving in a manner 
very unlike her prototype. The delusion succeeds for a time. 

11 A fit false dream that can delude the sleeper's sent. 

Scent, sensation, perception. Skinner says that sent, which we 
falsely write scent, is derived a sentiendo. The word is thus 
frequently spelt by Spenser. — Todd. 

31 " A diverse dream.' 1 '' — " A dream," says Upton, " that would 
occasion diversity or distraction ; or a frightful, hideous dream, 
from the Italian, sogno diverso." — Dante, Inferno, canto vi. 

Cerbero, fiera crudele e diversa. 

(Cerberus, the fierce beast, cruel and diverse.) 

Inferno, Orlando Innamorato, Lib. i., canto 4, stanza 66. 

Un grido orribile e diverso. 

(There rose a cry, horrible and diverse), &c. 

See Todd's Edition, as above, p. 42. 



62 SPENSER. 



The obvious sense, however, as in the case of Dante's Cerberus, 
I take to be monstrously varied, — inconsistent with itself. The 
dream is to make the knight's mistress contradict her natural 
character. 



THE CAVE OF MAMMON 

AND 

GARDEN OF PROSERPINE. 

Sir Guyon, crossing a desert, finds Mammon sitting amidst his gold in a 
gloomy valley. Mammon, taking him down into his cave, tempts him 
with the treasures there, and also with those in the Garden of Proserpine 

" Spenser's strength," says Hazlitt, " is not strength of will 
or action, of bone and muscle, nor is it coarse and palpable ; but 
it assumes a character of vastness and sublimity seen through 
the same visionary medium" (he has just been alluding to 
one), and blended with the appalling associations of preternatural 
agency. We need only turn in proof of this to the Cave of 
Despair, or the Cave of Mammon, or to the account of the 
change of Malbecco into Jealousy." — Lectures, p. 77. 

That house's form within was rude and strong, 13 
Like a huge cave hewn out of rocky clift, 
From whose rough vault the ragged branches hung 
Embost with massy gold of glorious gift, 
And with rich metal loaded, every rift, 
That heavy ruin they did seem to threat ; 
And over them Arachne high did lift 
Her cunning web, and spread her subtle net, 
Enwrapped in foul smoke, and clouds more black than jet. 

Both roof and floor, and walls were all of gold, 
But overgrown with dust and old decay, 
And hid in darkness, that none could behold 
The hue thereof; for view of chearful day 
Did never in that house itself display, 



SPENSER. 63 



But a faint shadoiv of uncertain light ; 
Such as a lamp, whose life does fade away ; 
Or as the moon, clothed with cloudy night, 
Does show to him that ivalks in fear and sad affright. 

In all that room was nothing to be seen, 
But huge great iron chests and coffers strong, 
All barr'd with double bands, that none could ween 
Them to enforce by violence or wrong ; 
On every side they placed were along ; 
But all the ground with skulls was scattered, 
And dead men's bones, which round about were flung, 
Whose lives (it seemed) whilome there were shed, 
And their vile carcases now left unburied. 

They forward pass, nor Guy on yet spake word, 
Till that they came unto an iron door, 
Which to them open'd of its own accord, 
And show'd of riches such exceeding store, 
As eye of man did never see before, 
Nor ever could within one place be found, 
Though all the wealth which is, or was of yore, 
Could gathered be through all the world around, 
And that above were added to that under ground. 

The charge thereof unto a covetous sprite 
Commanded was, who thereby did attend, 
And warily awaited, day and night, 
From other covetous fiends it to defend, 
Who it to rob and ransack did intend. 
Then Mammon turning to that warrior, said : 
" Lo here the worlde's bliss ! lo here the end, 
To which all men do aim, rich to be made ! 
Such grace now to be happy is before thee laid." 

" Certes " (said he) " I n'ill thine offered grace, '•* 
Nor to be made so happy do intend ; 
Another bliss before mine eyes I place, 
Another happiness, another end : 
To them that list, these base regards I lend ; 
But I in arms, and in achievements brave, 
Do rather choose my fitting hours to spend, 
And to be lord of those that riches have, 
Than them to have myself, and be their servile slave 
* * * * 

w N'ill, ne-will, will not. 



64 SPENSER. 



The Knight is led further on, and shown more treasures, 
and afterwards taken into the palace of Ambition ; but all in 
v ain. 

Mammon emmoved was with inward wrath ; 
Yet forcing it to fain, him forth thence led, 
Through griesly shadows, by a beaten path, 
Into a garden goodly garnished 

With herbs and fruits, whose kinds must not be read : 
Not such as earth, out of her fruitful womb, 15 
Throws forth to men, sweet and well-savored, 
But direful deadly black, both leaf and bloom, 
Fit to adorn the dead and deck the dreary tomb. 

There mournful cypress grew in greatest store ; 16 
And trees of bitter gall ; and heben sad ; 
Dead sleeping poppy : and black hellebore ; 
Cold coloquintida ; and tetra mad ; 
Mortal samnitis; and cicuta bad, 
With which the unjust Athenians made to die 
Wise Socrates, who therefore quaffing glad 
Pour'd out his life and last philosophy 
To the fair Critias, his dearest belamy ! 

The garden of Proserpina this hight ; 17 
And in the midst thereof a silver seat, 
With a thick arbor goodly over-dight, 
In which she often us'd from open heat 
Herself to shroud, and pleasures to entreat : 
Next thereunto did grow a goodly tree, 
With branches broad dispread and body great, 
Clothed with leaves, that none the wood might see, 
And loaded all with fruit as thick as it might be. 

Their fruit were golden apples, glistering bright, 
That goodly was their glory to behold ; 
On earth like never grew, nor living wight 
Like ever saw, but they from hence were sold ; 18 
For those, which Hercules with conquest bold 
Got from great Atlas' daughters, hence began, 
And planted there did bring forth fruit of gold ; 
And those, with which th' Eubean young man wan 
Swift Atalanta, when through craft It* her out-ran. 



SPENSER. 65 



Here also sprung that goodly golden fruit, 
With which Acontius got his lover true, 
Whom he had long time sought with fruitless suit; 
Here eke that famous golden apple grew, 
The which amongst the gods false Ate threw ; 
For which the Idcean ladies disagreed, 19 
Till partial Paris deem'd it Venus' due, 
And had of her fair Helen for his meed, 
That many noble Greeks and Trojans made to bleed. 

The warlike elf much wonder'd at this tree 
So fair and great, that shadowed all the ground ; 
And his broad branches, laden with rich fee, 
Did stretch themselves without the utmost bound 
Of this great garden, compass' 'd with a mound, 
Which overhanging, they themselves did steep 
In a black flood, which flowed about it round.* 
That is the river of Cocytus deep, 
In which full many souls do endless wail and weep. 

Which to behold, he climb'd up to the bank ; 
And, looking down, saw many damned wights 
In those sad waves which direfull deadly stank, 21 
Plunged continually of cruel sprites, 
That with their piteous cries and yelling shrights 
They made the further shore resounden wide. 
Amongst the rest of those same rueful sights, 
One cursed creature he by chance espied, 
That drenched lay full deep under the garden side. 

Deep was he drenched to the utmost chin, 
Yet gaped still as coveting to drink 
Of the cold liquor which he waded in : 
And, stretching forth his hand, did often think 
To reach the food which grew upon the brink ; 
But both the fruit from hand and flood from mouth 
Did fly aback, and made him vainly swinck, 
The whiles he starv'd with hunger and with droughth 
Ht daily died, yet never thoroughly dygn couth* 2 

The knight, him seeing labor so in vain. 
Ask'd who he was, and what he meant thereoy ! 
Who groaning deep, thus answered him again* 
" Most cursed of all creatures under sky, 
Lo ! Tantalus, I here tormented lie ! 
Of whom high Jove wont whilom feasted be! 
Lo ! here I now for want of food do die ! 
6 



SPENSER. 



But, if that thou be such as I thee see, 
Of grace I pray thee give to eat and drink to me !" 

" Nay, nay, thou greedy Tantalus" quoth he ; 
" Abide the fortune of thy present fate ; 
And unto all that live in high degree, 
Example be of mind intemperate, 
To teach them how to use their present state." 
Then 'gan the cursed wretch aloud to cry, 
Accusing highest Jove and gods ingrate : 
And eke blaspheming Heaven bitterly, 
As author of injustice, there to let him die. 

He look'd a little further, and espied 
Another wretch whose carcase deep was drent 
Within the river which the same did hide : 
But both his hands, most filthy feculent, 
Above the water were on high extent, 
And fain? d to wash themselves incessantly, 
Yet nothing cleaner were for such intent, 
But rather fouler seemed to the eye ; 
So lost his labor vain, and idle industry. 

The knight him calling, asked who he was r 
Who, lifting up his head, him answered thus : 
" I Pilate am, 23 the falsest judge, alas ! 
And most unjust ; that, by unrighteous 
And wicked doom, to Jews despiteous 
Delivered up the Lord of Life to die, 
And did acquit a murderer felonous ; 
The whilst my hands I wash'd in purity ; 
The whilst my soul was soil'd with foul iniquity." 

Infinite more tormented in like pain 
He then beheld, too long here to be told : 
Nor Mammon would there let him long remain, 
For terror of the tortures manifold, 
In which the damned souls he did behold, 
But roughly him bespake : " Thou fearful fool, 
Why takest not of that same fruit of gold ; 
Nor sittest down on that same silver stool, 
To rest thy weary person in the shady cool !" 

All which he did to do him deadly fall 
In frail intemperance through sinful bait; 
To which if he inclined had at all, 



SPENSER. 67 



That dreadful fiend, which did behind him wait, 
Would him have rent in thousand pieces straight: 
But he was wary wise in all his way, 
And well perceived his deceitful sleight, 
Nor suffered lust his safety to betray : 
So goodly did beguile the guiler of his prey. 

And now he has so long remained there, 
That vital power 'gan wax both weak and wan 
For want of food and sleep, which two upbear, 
Like mighty pillars, this frail life of man, 
That none without the same enduren can ; 
For now three days of men were full outwrought, 
Since he this hardy enterprise began : 
Therefore great Mammon fairly he besought 
Into the world to guide him back, as he him brought. 

The god, though loth, yet was constrain'd t' obey , 
For longer time than that no living wight 
Below the earth might suffered be to stay : 
So back again him brought to living light. 
But all as soon as his enfeebled sprite 
'Gan suck this vital air into his breast, 
As overcome with too exceeding might, 
The life did flit away out of her nest, 
And all his senses were in deadly fit opprest. 

13 That house's form within was rude and strong, &c. 

Hazlitt, with his fine poetical taste, speaking of the two stan- 
zas here following, and the previous one beginning, And over 
all, SfC, says, that they are unrivalled for the " portentous mas- 
siveness of the forms, the splendid chiaroscuro and shadowy 
horror," — " Lectures on the English Poets," third edition, p. 77. 
It is extraordinary that in the new "Elegant Extracts," pub- 
lished under his name, seven lines of the first stanza, beginning 
at the words, " from whose rough vault," are left out. Their 
exceeding weight, the contrast of the dirt and squalor with the 
gold, and the spider's webs dusking over all, compose chief part 
of the grandeur of the description (as indeed he has just said). 
Hogarth, by the way, has hit upon the same thought of a spider's 
web for his poor's-box, in the wedding-scene in Mary-le-bone 
church. So do tragedy and comedy meet. 

•5 « Not such as earth," &c— Upton thinks it not unlikely that 



G8 SPENSER. 



Spenser imagined the direful deadly and black fruits which 
this infernal garden bears, from a like garden which Dante 
describes, Inferno, canto xiii., v. 4. 

Non frondi verdi, ma di color fosco, 
Non rami schietti, ma nodosi e'nvolti, 
Non pomi v' eran, ma stecchi con tosco. 

(No leaves of green were theirs, but dusky sad ; 
No fair straight boughs, but gnarl'd and tangled all : 
No rounded fruits, but poison-bearing thorns.) 

Dante's garden, however, has no flowers. It is a human 
grove ; that is to say, made of trees that were once human be- 
ing S) — an aggravation (according to his customary improve- 
ment upon horrors) of a like solitary instance in Virgil, which 
Spenser has also imitated in his story of Fradubio, book i., 
canto 2, st. 30. 

io There mournful cypress grew in greatest store, &c. 

Among the trees and flowers here mentioned, helen, is ebony ; 
coloquintida, the bitter gourd or apple ; tetra, the tetrum solanum, 
or deadly night-shade ; samnitis, Upton takes to be the Sabine, 
or savine-tree ; and cicuta is the hemlock, which Socrates 
drank when he poured out to his friends his "last philosophy." 
How beautifully said is that! But the commentators have shown 
that it was a slip of memory in the poet to make Critias their 
representative on the occasion, — that apostate from his philoso- 
phy not having been present. Belamy is lei ami, fair friend, — 
a phrase answering to good friend, in the old French writers. 

17 The garden of Proserpina this hight. 

The idea of a garden and a golden tree for Proserpina is in 
Claudian, Be Raptu Proserpina, lib. ii., v. 290. But Spenser 
has made the flowers funereal, and added the " silver seat," — 
a strong yet still delicate contrast to the black flowers, and in 
cold sympathy with them. It has also a certain fair and lady- 
like fitness to the possessor of the arbor. May I venture, with 
all reverence to Spenser, to express a wish that he* had made a 



SPENSER. 69 

compromise with the flowers of Claudian, and retained them by 
the side of the others? Proserpine was an unwilling bride, 
though she became a reconciled wife. She deserved to enjoy 
her Sicilian flowers ; and besides, in possessing a nature supe- 
rior to her position, she would not be without innocent and 
cheerful thoughts. Perhaps, however, our " sage and serious 
Spenser" would have answered, that she could see into what 
was good in these evil flowers, and so get a contentment from 
objects which appeared only melancholy to others. It is cer- 
tainly a high instance of modern imagination, this venturing to 
make a pleasure-garden out of the flowers of pain. 

18 " But they from hence were sold:''— Upton proposes that " with a 
little variation," this word sold should be read stold ; "that is," 
says he, " procured by stealth :" — he does not like to say stolen. 
" The wise convey it call." Spenser certainly would have no 
objection to spell the word in any way most convenient ; and I 
confess I wish, with Upton, that he had exercised his licence in 
this instance ; though he might have argued, that the infernal 
powers are not in the habit of letting people have their goods for 
nothing. In how few of the instances that follow did the pos- 
session of the golden apples turn out well ! Are we sure that it 
prospered in any ? For Acontius succeeded with his apple by 
a trick; and after all, as the same commentator observes, it was 
not with a golden apple, but common mortal-looking fruit, though 
gathered in the garden of Venus. He wrote a promise upon it 
to marry him, and so his mistress read, and betrothed herself. 
The story is in Ovid : Heroides, Epist. xx., xxi. 

19 For which the Idaan ladies disagreed. 

" He calls the three goddesses that contended for the prize of 
beauty, boldly but elegantly enough, Idsean Ladies." — Jortin. 
"He calls the Muses and the Graces likewise, Ladies." — 
Church. " The ladies may be further gratified by Milton's 
adaptation of their title to the celebrated daughters of Hespe- 
rus, whom he calls Ladies of the Hesperides." — Todd. The 
ladies of the present day, in which so much good poetry and 
reading have revived, will smile at the vindication of a word 



70 SPENSER. 

again become common, and so frequent in the old poets and 
romancers. 

20 Winch overhanging, they themselves did steep 
In a black flood f which flowed about it round, &c. 

The tree, observe, grew in the middle of " this great garden," 
and yet overhung its utmost bounds, and steeped itself in the 
black river by which it was encircled. We are to imagine the 
branches with their fruit stretching over the garden like one 
enormous arbor or trellice, and mixing a certain lustrous light 
with the gloom and the funereal flowers. You walk in the 
shadow of a golden death. What an excessive and gorgeous 
luxury beside the blackness of hell ' 

51 And looking down saw many damned ivights 
In those sad waves which direful deadly stank, 
Plunged continually of cruel sprites, 
That with their piteous cries, &c. 

Virgil appears to have been the first who ventured to find 
sublimity in a loathsome odor. I say " appears," because 
many Greek writers have perished whom he copied, and it is 
probable the invention was theirs. A greater genius, Dante, 
followed him in this, as in other respects ; and, probably, would 
have set the example had it not been given him. Sackville fol- 
lowed both ; and the very excess of Spenser's sense of the 
beautiful and attractive would render him fully aware of the 
capabilities of this intensity of the repulsive. Burke notices 
the subject in his treatise On the Sublime and Beautiful. The 
following is the conclusion of his remarks : — " It is one of the 
tests by which the sublimity of an image is to be tried, not 
whether it becomes mean when associated with mean ideas, but 
whether, when united with images of an allowed grandeur, the 
whole composition is supported with dignity. Things which are 
torrible are always great ; but when things possess disagreeable 
qualities, or such as have indeed some degree of danger, but of 
a danger easily overcome, they are merely odious, as toads and 
spiders." — Part the Second, Section the Twenty-first. Both points 



SPENSER. 71 



are easily illustrated. Passing by a foul ditch, you are simply 
disgusted, and turn aside ; but imagine yourself crossing a 
mountain, and coming upon a hot and slimy valley in which a 
pestilential vapor ascends from a city, the inhabitants of which 
have died of the plague and been left unburied ; or fancy the 
great basin of the Caspian Sea deprived of its waters, and the 
horror which their refuse would send up over the neighboring 
regions. 

22 He daily died, yet never thoroughly dySn couth. 

Die could ; he never could thoroughly die. Truly horrible ; 
and, as Swift says of his hanging footman, " very satisfactory 
to the beholders." Yet Spenser's Tantalus, and his Pontius 
Pilate, and indeed the whole of this latter part of his hell, 
strike us with but a poor sort of cruelty compared with any like 
number of pages out of the tremendous volume of Dante. But 
the far greater part of our extract, the sooty golden cave of 
Mammon, and the mortal beauty of the garden of Proserpine, 
with its golden fruit hanging in the twilight ; all, in short, in 
which Spenser combines his usual luxury with grandeur, are as 
fine as anything of the kind which Dante or any one else ever 
conceived. 

S3 " I Pilate am," &c. Let it not be supposed that I intend the 
slightest glance of levity towards the divine name which has 
become identified with charity. But charity itself will allow us 
to imagine the astonishment of this Roman Governor of Jerusa- 
lem, could he have foreseen the destinies of his name. He 
doubtless thought, that if another age spoke of him at all, it 
would treat him as a good-natured man who had to rule over a 
barbarous people, and make a compromise between his better 
judgment and their prejudices. No name, except Judas's, has 
received more execration from posterity. Our good-natured 
poet has here put him in the " loathly lakes " of Tartarus. 



72 SPENSER. 



A GALLERY OF PICTURES FROM SPENSER. 

SPENSER CONSIDERED AS THE POET OF THE PAINTERS. 

It has been a whim of late years with some transcendental critics, 
in the excess of the reaction of what may be called spiritual 
poetry against material, to deny utterly the old family relation- 
ship between poetry and painting. They seem to think that 
because Darwin absurdly pronounced nothing to be poetry which 
could not be painted, they had.only to avail themselves of the 
spiritual superiority of the art of the poet, and assert the con- 
trary extreme. Now, it is granted that the subtlest creations of 
poetry are neither effected by a painter-like process, nor limited 
to his powers of suggestion. The finest idea the poet gives you 
of anything is by what may be called sleight of mind, striking 
it without particular description on the mind of the reader, 
feeling and all, moral as well as physical, as a face is struck on 
a mirror. But to say, nevertheless, that the poet does not in- 
clude the painter in his more visible creations, is to deprive him 
of half his privileges, nay, of half his very poems. Thousands 
of images start out of the canvass of his pages to laugh at the 
assertion. Where did the great Italian painters get half of the 
most bodily details of their subjects but out of the poets ? and 
what becomes of a thousand landscapes, portraits, colors, lights 
and shades, groupings, effects, intentional and artistical pictures, 
in the writings of all the poets inclusive, the greatest especially ? 
I have taken opportunity of this manifest truth to introduce 
under one head a variety of the most beautiful passages in 
Spenser, many of which might otherwise have seemed too 
small for separate exhibition ; and I am sure that the more po- 
etical the reader, the more will he be delighted to see these 
manifestations of the pictorial side of poetry. He will not 



SPENSER. 73 



find them destitute of that subtler spirit of the art, which picture 
cannot express. 

" After reading," said Pope, " a canto of Spenser two or 
three days ago to an old lady, between seventy and eighty years 
of age, she said that I had been showing her a gallery of pic- 
tures. I don't know how it is, but she said very right. There 
is something in Spenser that pleases one as strongly in old age 
as it did in one's youth. I read the Faerie Queene, when I 
was about twelve, with infinite delight ; and I think it gave me 
as much, when I read it over about a year or two ago." — 
Spencers Anecdotes. 

The canto that Pope here speaks of was probably one of the 
most allegorical sort, very likely that containing the Mask of 
Cupid. In the one preceding it, there is a professed gallery of 
pictures, supposed to be painted on tapestry. But Spenser's 
allegorical pictures are only his most obvious ones : he has a 
profusion of others, many of them still more exquisitely painted. 
I think that if he had not been a great poet, he would have been 
a great painter ; and in that case there is ground for believing 
that England would have possessed, and in the person of one 
man, her Claude, her Annibal Caracci, her Correggio, her 
Titian, her Rembrandt, perhaps even her Raphael. I suspect 
that if Spenser's history were better known, we should find that 
he was a passionate student of pictures, a haunter of the col- 
lections of his friends Essex and Leicester. The tapestry just 
alluded to, he criticises with all the gusto of a connoisseur, per- 
haps with an eye to pictures in those very collections. In 
speaking of a Leda, he says, bursting into an admiration of the 
imaginary painter, 

O, wondrous skill and sweet wit of the man, 

That her in daffodillies sleeping made, 

From scorching heather dainty limbs to shade! 

And then he proceeds with a description full of life and beauty, 
but more proper to be read with the context than brought for- 
ward separately. The coloring implied in these lines is in the 
very core of the secret of that branch of the art ; and the un- 



74 SPENSER. 



painted part of the tapestry is described with hardly less 
beauty. 

For, round about, the walls y clothed were 
With goodly arras of great majesty, 
Woven with gold and silk so close and near, 
That the rich metal lurked privily, 
As feigning to be hid from envious eye ; 
Yet here, and there, and everywhere, unwares 
It show'd itself, and shone unwillingly ; 
Like to a discolor' d snake, whose hidden snares 
Through the green grass his long bright burnish' d back declares. 

Spenser should have a new set of commentators, — the painters 
themselves. They might do for him in their own art, what 
Warton did in his, — trace him among his brethren. Certainly 
no works would " illustrate" better than Spenser's with engrav- 
ings from the old masters (I should like no better amusement 
than to hunt him through the print-shops !), and from none might 
a better gallery be painted by new ones. I once wrote an arti- 
cle on the subject in a magazine ; and the late Mr. Hilton (I do 
not know whether he saw it) projected such a gallery, among 
his other meritorious endeavors. It did not answer to the origin- 
als, either in strength or sweetness ; but a very creditable and 
pleasing specimen may be seen in the National Gallery, — Sere- 
na rescued from the Savages by Sir C ale pine. 

In corroboration of the delight which Spenser took in this more 
visible kind of poetry, it is observable that he is never more free 
from his superfluousness than when painting a picture. When 
he gets into a moral, or intellectual, or narrative vein, we might 
often spare him a good deal of the flow of it ; but on occasions of 
sheer poetry and painting, he is too happy to wander so much 
from his point. If he is tempted to expatiate, every word is to 
the purpose. Poetry and painting indeed would in Spenser be 
identical, if they could be so ; and they are more so, too, than it 
has latterly been the fashion to allow ; for painting does not deal 
in the purely visible. It deals also in the suggestive and the 
allusive, therefore in thoughts beyond the visible proof of the 
canvass ; in intimations of sound ; in references to the past and 
future. Still the medium is a visible one, and is at the mercy of 



SPENSER. 75 



the spectator's amount of comprehension. The great privilege 
of the poet is, that, using the medium of speech, he can make his 
readers poets ; can make them aware and possessed of what he 
intends, enlarging their comprehension by his details, or enlight- 
ening it by a word. A painter might have the same feeling as 
Shakspeare respecting the moonlight " sleeping" on a bank ; 
but how is he to evince it ? He may go through a train of the 
profoundest thoughts in his own mind ; but into what voluminous 
fairy circle is he to compress them ? Poetry can paint whole 
galleries in a page, while her sister art requires heaps of can- 
vass to render a few of her poems visible. 

This, however, is what everybody knows. Not so, that Spen- 
ser emulated the Raphaels and Titians in a profusion of pic- 
tures, many of which are here taken from their loalls. They 
give the Poet's Poet a claim to a new title, — that of Poet of the 
Painters. The reader has seen what Mr. Hazlitt says of him in 
connection with Rubens ; but the passage adds, what I have 
delayed quoting till now, that " none but Rubens could have 
painted the fancy of Spenser;" adding further, that Rubens 
"could not have painted the sentiment, the airy dream that 
hovers over it." I venture to think that this fine critic on the 
two sister arts wrote the first of these sentences hastily ; and that 
the truth of the second would have shown him, on reflection, 
with what painters, greater than Rubens, the poet ought to have 
been compared. The great Fleming was a man of a genius as 
fine and liberal as his nature ; yet who that looks for a moment 
at the pictures which ensue, shall say that he would have been 
justified in putting his name to them ? Sentiments and airy 
dreams hover over them all, — say rather, abide and brood over 
many, — with such thoug.htfulncss as the Italian aspect can only 
match. More surprising is Mr. Coleridge's assertion, that 
Spenser's descriptions are " not, in the true sense of the word, 
picturesque ; but composed of a wondrous series of images, as 
in dreams." Lectures (ut sup.), vol. i., p. 93. If, by true 
sense of the word, he means the acquired sense of piquancy ot 
contrast, or a certain departure from the smoothness of beauty in 
order to enhance it, Spenser certainly is not in the habit of put- 
ting many thorns in his roses. His bowers of bliss, he thought, 



7c SPENSER. 



did not demand it. The gentle beast that Una rode, would not 
have cut a very piquant figure in the forest scenery of Mr. Gil- 
pin. But if Coleridge means picturesque in the sense of fit- 
ness for picture, and very striking fitness, then the recollections 
of the masks, or the particular comparison of Prince Arthur's 
crest with the almond tree (which is the proof he adduces) made 
him forget the innumerable instances in which the pictorial 
power is exhibited. Nor was Spenser unaware, nay, he was 
deeply sensible of the other feelings of the picturesque, as may 
be seen in his sea-gods' beards (when Proteus kisses Amoret), 
his " rank grassy fens," his " weeds of glorious feature," his 
oaks " half dead," his satyrs, gloomy lights, beautiful but unlucky 
grounds, &c, &c, &c. (for in this sense of the word, there are 
feelings of the invisible corresponding with the stronger forms of 
the picturesque). He has himself noticed the theory in his Bower 
of Bliss, and thus anticipated the modern taste in landscape 
gardening, the idea of which is supposed to have originated with 
Milton : 

One would have thought (so cunningly the rude 
Jlnd scorned parts were mingled with the fine) 
That Nature had for wantonness ensued 
Art, and that Art at Nature did repine. 
So, striving each the other to undermine, 
Each did the other's work more beautify. 

But the reader will judge for himself. 

I have attached to each of the pictures in this Spenser Gal- 
lery the name of the painter, of whose genius it reminded me ; 
and I think the connoisseur will allow, that the assignment was 
easy, and that the painter-poet's range of art is equally wide and 
wonderful. 



SPENSER. 77 



CHARISSA; OR, CHARITY. 
Character, Spiritual Love ; Painter for it, Raphael. 

She was a woman in her freshest age, 
Of wondrous beauty and of bounty rare, 
With goodly grace and comely personage, 
That was on earth not easy to compare ; 
Full of great love ; but Cupid's wanton snare 
As hell she hated, chaste in work and will ; 
Her neck and breasts were ever open bare, 
That ay thereof her babes might suck their fill ; 
The rest was all in yellow robes arrayed still. 

A multitude of babes about her hung 
Playing their sports, that joyed her to behold, 
Whom still she fed, whilst they were weak and young, 
But thrust them forth still as they waxed old ; 
And on her head she wore a tire of gold 
Adorn'd with gems and owches wondrous fair,* 
Whose passing price uneathf was to be told ; 
And by her side there sate a gentle pair 24 
Of turtle doves, she silting in an ivory chair. 

a* " And by her side" &c This last couplet brings at once be- 
fore us all the dispassionate graces and unsuperfiuous treatmen 
of Raphael's allegorical females. 

* Owches wondrous fair. Owches are carcanets or ranges of jewels. 
t Uneath. Scarcely, with difficulty. 



7* SPENSER. 



HOPE. 

Character, Sweetness without Devotedness ; Painter, Correggio. 

With him went Hope in rank, a handsome maid, 
Of cheerful look, and lovely to behold: 
In silken samite she was light array'd, 
And her fair locks were woven up in gold. iS 
She alway smiVd ; — and in her hand did hold 
An holy-water sprinkle dipp'd in dew, 
With which she sprinkled favors manifold 
On whom she list and did great liking shew ; 
Great liking unto many, but true love to few. 

25 " And her fair locks," &c. What a lovely line is that! and 
with a beauty how simple and sweet is the sentiment portrayed 
in the next three words, — " She alway smil'd !" But almost 
every line of the stanza is lovely, including the felicitous Catho- 
lic image of the 

Holy-water sprinkle dipp'd in dew. 
Correggio is in every color and expression of the picture. 



CUPID USURPING THE THRONE OF JUPITER. 

Character, Potency in Weakness ; Painter, the same. 

In Satyr's shape, Antiope he snatch'd 
And like a fire, when he ^Egine essay'd ; 
A shepherd, when Mnemosyne he catch'd ; 
And like a serpent to the Thracian maid. 
While thus on earth great Jove these pageants play'd, 
The winged boy did thrust into his throne ; 
And scoffing, thus unto his mother said : 
" Lo ! now the heavens obey to me alone, 
And take me for their Jove, whilst Jove to earth is gone." 



SPENSER. 79 



MARRIAGE PROCESSION OF THE THAMES AND MEDWAY. 

Character, Genial Strength, Grace, and Luxury , Painter, 

Raphael. 

First came great Neptune with his three-fork'd mace, 
That rules the seas and makes them rise or fall ; 
His dewy locks did drop with brine apace, 

Under his diadem imperial ; 
And by his side his queen, with coronal, 
Fair Amphitrite, most divinely fair, 

Whose ivory shoulders weren covered all, 
As with a robe, with her own silver hair, 
And deck'd with pearls which the Indian seas for her prepare. 

These marched far afore the other crew, 
And all the way before them as they went 
Triton his trumpet shrill before him blew, 
For goodly triumph and great jolliment, 
That made the rocks to roar as they were rent. 

Or take another part of the procession, with dolphins and sea- 
nymphs listening as they went, to 

ARION\ 

Then was there heard a most celestial sound 
Of dainty music, which did next ensue 
Before the spouse. That was Arion crown d ; 
Who playing on his harp, unto him drew 
The ears and hearts of all that goodly crew ; 
That even yet the dolphin which him bore 
Through the ^Egean seas from pirates view 
Stood still by him, astonish'd at his lore, 
And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar. 

So went he playing on the watery plain. se 
M " So went he," &c. This sweet, placid, and gently progressing 



80 SPENSER. 



line is one of Spenser's happy samples of alliteration. And 
how emphatic is the information — 



That was Anon, crown'd. 



SIR GUYON BINDING FUROR. 
Character, Superhuman Energy, and Rage ; Painter, Michael Angela 

In his strong arms he stiffly him embrac'd, 
Who, him gain-striving, naught at all prevail'd ; 
Then him to ground he cast and rudely haled, 
And both his hands fast bound behind his back, 
And both his feet in fetters to an iron rack. 

With hundred iron chains he did him bind, 
And hundred knots that him did sore constrain; 
Yet his great iron teeth he still did grind 
And grimly gnash, threat'ning revenge in vain. 
His burning eyes, whom bloody streaks did stain, 
Stared full wide, and threw forth sparks of fire , 
And more for rank despite, than for great pain, 
Shak'd his long locks, color'd like copper wire, 2 " 
And bit his tawny beard, to show his raging ire. 

27 " Color'd like copper wire." A felicity suggested perhaps by 
the rhyme. It has all the look, however, of a copy from some 
oainting ; perhaps one of Julio Romano's. 



UNA (OR FAITH IN DISTRESS). 
Character, Loving and Sorrowful Purity glorified". 
(May I say, that I think it would take Raphael and Correggio 



SPENSER. 81 



united to paint this, on account of the exquisite chiaroscuro ? 
Or might not the painter of the Magdalen have it all to himself ?) 

Yet she, most faithful lady, all this while, 23 
Forsaken, woful, solitary maid, 
Far from all people's press, as in exile, 
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray'd, 
To seek her knight, who subtily betray'd 
Through that late vision which the enchanter wrought, 
Had her abandon'd. She, of naught afraid, 
Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought, 
Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought 

One day nigh weary of the irksome way, 
From her unhasty beast she did alight, 
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay 
In secret shadow far from all men's sight : 
From her fair head her fillet she undight 
And laid her stole aside : her angels face 
As the great eye of heaven shinid bright, 
And made a sunshine in the shady place ; 
Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace. 

It fortuned, out of the thickest wood 
A ramping lion rushed suddenly, 
Hunting full greedy after savage blood : 
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy, 
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily, 
To have at once devour'd her tender corse ; 
But to the prey when as he drew more nigh, 
His bloody rage assuaged with remorse, 
And with the sight amaz'd, forgot his furious force. 

Instead thereof he kiss'd her weary feet, 
And lick'd her lily hand with fawning tongue ; 
As he her wronged innocence did weet. 
how can beauty master the most strong, 
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong ! 
Whose yielded pride and proud submission, 
Still dreading death when she had marked long 
Her heart 'gan melt in great compassi5n : 
And drizzling tears did shed for pure affection. 

" The lion, lord of every beast in field," 
Quoth she, " his princely puissance doth abate. 
And mightv proud to humble weak does yield, 
7 



82 SPENSER. 



Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late 
Him prick'd with pity of my sad estate — 
But he my lion, and my noble lord, 
How does he find in cruel heart to hate 
Her, that him lov'd, and ever most ador'd 
As the gbd of my life ? Why hath he me abhorr'd >"™ 

*s " Yet she," &c. Coleridge quotes this stanza as " a good 
instance of what he means " in the following remarks in his 
Lectures : — " As characteristic of Spenser, I would call your 
particular attention in the first place to the indescribable sweet- 
ness and fluent projections of his verse, very clearly distinguish- 
able from the deeper and more inwoven harmonies of Shak- 
speare and Milton." Good, however, as the stanza is, and 
beautiful the second line, it does not appear to me so happy an 
instance of what Coleridge speaks of as many which he might 
have selected. 

The verses marked in the second stanza are one of the most 
favorite quotations from the Faerie Queene. 

*>"As the god of my life," &c Pray let not the reader consent 
to read this first half of the line in any manner less marked and 
peremptory. It is a striking instance of the beauty of that 
" acceleration and retardation of true verse " which Coleridge 
speaks of. There is to be a hurry on the words as the, and a 
passionate emphasis and passing stop on the word god ; and so 
of the next three words. 



JUPITER AND MAIA. 

Character, Young and Innocent but Conscious and Sensuous Beauty , 

Painter, Correggio. 

Behold how goodly my fair love does lie 

In proud humility ! 
Like unto Mai a, when as Jove her took 
In Tempe, lying on the flowery grass, 
'Twixt sleep and wake, after she weary was 
With bathing in the Acidalian brook. 



SPENSER. 83 



NIGHT AND THE WITCH DUESSA, 

TAKING SANSJOY IN THEIR CHARIOT TO jESCULAFIUS TO BE RESTORED 

TO LIFE. 

Character, Dreariness of Scene; Horridness of Aspect and Wicked 
Beauty, side by side ; Painter, Julio Romano. 

Then to her iron waggon she betakes 
And with her bears the foul well-favored ivitch: 
Through mirksome air her ready way she makes, 
Her twofold team (of which two black as pitch 
And two were brown, yet each to each unlich*) 
Did softly swim away, nor ever stamp 
Unless she chanc'd their stubborn mouths to twitch ; 
Then, foa?ning tar, their bridles they would champ, 
And trampling the fine element would fiercely ramp. 

So well they sped, that they be come at length 
Unto the place whereas the Paynim lay 
Devoid of outward sense and native strength, 
Cover'd with charmed cloud from view of day 
And sight of men, since his late luckless fray. 
His cruel wounds, with cruddy blood congeal'd, 
They binden up so wisely as they may, 
And handle softly, till they can be heal'd, 
So lay him in her chariot, close in night conceal'd 

And all the while she stood upon the ground, 
The wakeful dogs did never cease to bay ; 
As giving warning of the unwonted sound, 
With which her iron wheels did they affray, 
And her dark griesly look them much dismay. 
The messenger of death, the ghastly owl, 
With dreary shrieks did also her bewray , 
And hungry wolves continually did howl 
At her abhorred face, so filthy and so foul. 30 

* " Each to each unlich." Unlike. 



84 SPENSER. 



Then turning back in silence soft they stole, 
And brought the heavy corse with easy pace 
To yawning gulf of deep Avernus hole. 
By that same hole, an entrance, dark and base, 
With smoke and sulphur hiding all the place, 
Descends to hell : there creature never pass'd 
That back returned without heavenly grace ; 
But dreadful furies which their chains have brast, 
And damned sprites sent forth, to make ill men aghast. 

By that same way the direful dames do drive 
Their mournful chariot JilVd with rusty blood, 3i 
And down to Pluto's house are come belive : 
Which passing through, on every side them stood 
The trembling ghosts with sad amazed mood, 
Chattering their iron teeth, and staring wide 
With stony eyes ; and all the hellish brood 
Of fiends infernal flock'd on every side, 
To gaze on earthly wight, that with the night durst ride. 

3° " So filthy and so foul."— Why he should say this of Night, 
except, perhaps, in connection with the witch, I cannot say. It 
seems to me to hurt the " abhorred face." Night, it is true, may 
be reviled, or made grand or lovely, as a poet pleases. There 
is both classical and poetical warrant for all. But the goddess 
with whom the witch dared to ride (as the poet finely says at the 
close) should have been exhibited, it would seem, in a more 
awful, however frightful guise. 

31 "Their mournful chariot fill'd with rusty blood."— There is some- 
thing wonderfully dreary, strange, and terrible, in this picture. 
By " rusty blood" (which is very horrid) he must mean the 
blood half congealing; altered in patches, like rusty iron. Be 
this as it may, the word " rusty," as Warton observes, " seems 
to have conveyed the idea of somewhat very loathsome and hor- 
rible to our author." 



SPENSER. 85 



VENUS IN SEARCH OF CUPID, COMING TO DIANA. 

Character, Contrast of Impassioned and Unimpassioned Beauty — 
Cold and Warm Colors mixed ; Painter, Titian. 

(Yet I know not whether Annibal Caracci would not better 
suit the demand for personal expression in this instance. But 
the recollection of Titian's famous Bath of Diana is forced 
upon us.) 

Shortly unto the wasteful woods she came, 
Whereas she found the goddess with her crew, 
After late chace of their embrewed game, 
Sitting beside a fountain in a rew ; 
Some of them washing with the liquid dew 
From off their dainty limbs the dusty sweat 
And soil, which did defile their lovely hue ; 
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat ; 
The rest upon her person gave attendance great. 

She having hung upon a bough on high 
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlac'd 
Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh, 
And her lank loins ungirt and breasts unbrac'd, 
After her heat the breathing cold to taste ; 
Her golden locks, that late in tresses bright 
Embraided were for hindering of her haste, 
Now loose about her shoulders lay undight, 
And were with sweet ambrosia all besprinkled light 

Soon as she Venus saw behind her back, 

She was asham'd to be so loose surpris'd, 

And wak'd half wrath against her damsels slack 

That had not her thereof before aviz'd, 

But sufFer'd her so carelessly disguiz'd 

Be overtaken : soon her garments loose 32 
Upgathering in her bosom she compriz 1 d, 
Well as she might, and to the goddess rose 
Whiles all her nymphs did like a garland her inclose 



86 SPENSER. 



" Soon her garments loose," &c— This picture is from Ovid , 
but the lovely and beautifully colored comparison of the gar- 
land is Spenser's own. 



MAY. 



Character, Budding Beauty in male and female ; Animal Passion ; 
Luminous Vernal coloring ; Painter, the same. 

Then came fair May, the fairest maid on ground, 33 
Deck'd all with dainties of her season's pride, 
And throwing flowers out of her lap around : 
Upon two brethren's shoulders she did ride, 
The Twins of Leda ; which, on either side, 
Supported her like to their sovereign queen. 
Lord ! how all creatures laugh' d when her they spied, 
And leap'd and danc'd as they had ravished been ; 
And Cupid's self about her flutte~re~d all in green. 

33 " Then came," &c — Raphael would have delighted (but Titian's 
colors would be required) in the lovely and liberal uniformity of 
this picture, — the young goddess May supported aloft ; the two 
brethren on each side; animals and flowers below; birds in the 
air, and Cupid streaming overhead in his green mantle. Ima- 
gine the little fellow, with a body of Titian's carnation, tumbling 
in the air, and playfully holding the mantle, which is flying 
amply behind, rather than concealing him. 

This charming stanza beats the elegant but more formal invo- 
cation to May by Milton, who evidently had it in his recollec- 
tion. Indeed the latter is almost a compilation from various 
poets. It is, however, too beautiful to be omitted here. 

Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger, 
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her 
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws 
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose. 

Hail beauteous May, that dost inspire 
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire ! 



SPENSER. 87 



Woods and groves are of thy dressing, 
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing. 
Thus we salute thee with our early song, 
And welcome thee, and wish thee long. 

Spenser's " Lord ! how all creatures laugh'd " is an instance 
of joyous and impulsive expression not common with English 
poets, out of the pale of comedy. They have geniality in 
abundance, but not animal spirits. 



AN ANGEL, WITH A PILGRIM AND A FAINTING KNIGHT. 

Character, Active Superhuman Beauty, with the finest coloring and 
contrast ; Painter, the same. 

During the while that Guyon did abide 
In Mammon's house, the palmer, whom whilere 
That wanton maid of passage had denied, 
By further search had passage found elsewhe*e; 
And being on his way, approached near 
While Guyon lay in trance : when suddenly 
He heard a voice that called loud and clear, 
" Come hither, hither, come hastily !" 
That all the fields resounded with the rueful cry 

The palmer leant his ear unto the noise, 
To weet who call'd so importun^dly ; 
Again he heard a more enforced voice, 
That bade him come in haste. He by-and-bye 
His feeble feet directed to the cry ; 
Which to that shady delve him brought at last, 
Where Mammon earst did sun his treasury : 
There the good Guyon he found slumbering fast 
In senseless dream ; which sight at first him sore aghast 

Beside his head there sat a fair young man, 34 
Of wondrous beauty and of freshest years, 
Whose tender bud to blossom new began, 
And flourish far above his equal peers; 
His snowy front, curled with golden hairs, 



8S SPENSER. 



Like Phcebus' face adorn'd with sunny rays, 
Divinely shone ; and two sharp winged shears, 
Decked with diverse plumes, like painted jays, 
Were fixed at his back to cut his airy ways 

34 "Beside his head," &c— The superhuman beauty of this angel 
should be Raphael's, yet the picture, as a whole, demands Ti- 
tian ; and the painter of Bacchus was not incapable of the most 
imaginative exaltation of countenance. As to the angel's body, 
no one could have painted it like him, — nor the beautiful jay's 
wings ; not to mention the contrast between the pilgrim's weeds 
and the knight's armor. See a picture of Venus blinding Cupid, 
beautifully engraved by Sir Robert Strange, in which the Cupid 
has variegated wings. 



AURORA AND TITHONUS. 

Character, Young and Genial Beauty, contrasted with Age, — the ac- 
cessories full of the mixed warmth and chillness of morning ; Pain- 
ter, Guido. 

The joyous day 'gan early to appear, 
And fair Aurora from the dewy bed 
Of aged Tithon 'gan herself to rear 
With rosy cheeks, for shame as blushing red. 
Her golden locks, for haste, were loosely shed 
About her ears, when Una did her mark 
Climb to her chariot, all with flowers spread, 
From heaven high to chase the cheerless dark : 
With merry note her loud salutes the mounting lark 



SPENSER. 89 



THE BRIDE AT THE ALTAR. 

Character, Flushed yet Lady-like Beauty, with ecstatic Angels regard- 
ing her ; Painter, the same. 

Behold, while she before the altar stands, 
Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks, 
And blesses her with his two happy hands, 
How the red roses flush up in her cheeks ! 
And the pure snow, with goodly vermeil stain, 

Like crimson dyed in grain ! 
That ev'n the angels, which continually 
About the sacred altar do remain, 
Forget their service and about her fly, 
Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair 35 
The more they on it stare ; 
But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground, 
Are governed with goodly modesty, 
That suffers not one look to glance awry, 
Which may let in a little thought unsound. 

ss " Oft peeping in her face," &c. — I cannot think the words peep- 
ing and stare, the best which the poet could have used ; but he 
is aggravating the beauties of his bride in a long epithalamium, 
and sacrificing everything to her superiority. The third line is 
felicitous. 



A NYMPH BATHING. 

Character, Ecstacy of Conscious and Luxurious Beauty ; Paintet 

Guido. 

— Her fair locks which formerly were bound 

Up in one knot, she low adown did loose, 

Which flowing long and thick, her cloth' d around, 

And the ivory in golden ma?itle gown'd, 



90 SPENSER. 



So that fair spectacle was from him reft, 
Yet that which reft it, no less fair was found : 
So hid in locks and waves from looker's theft, 
JVaught but her lovely face she for his looking left. 

Withal she laughed, and she blush'd withal, 36 
That blushing to her laughter gave more grace, 
And laughter to her blushing. 

36 " Withal she laughed," &c. — Perhaps this is the loveliest thing 
of the kind, mixing the sensual with the graceful, that ever was 
painted. The couplet, So hid in locks and waves, &c, would be 
an excessive instance of the sweets of alliteration, could we bear 
to miss a particle of it. 



THE CAVE OF DESPAIR. 

Character, Savage and Forlorn Scenery, occupied by Squalid Misery 

Painter, Salvator Rosa. 

Ere long they come where that same wicked wight 
His dwelling has, low in a hollow cave. 
Far underneath a craggy cliff ypight, 
Dark, doleful, dreary, like a greedy grave, 
That still for carrion carcasses doth crave ; 
On top whereof ay dwelt the ghastly owl, 
Shrieking his baleful note, which ever drave 
Far from that haunt all other cheerful fowl, 
And all about it wand'ring ghosts did wail and howl : 

And all about old stocks and stubs of trees, 
Whereon nor fruit nor leaf was ever seen, 
Did hang upon the ragged rocky knees, 
On which had many wretches hanged been, 
Whose carcasses were scattered on the green, 
And thrown about the cliffs. Arrived there, 
That bare-head knight, for dread and doleful teen,* 
Would fain have fled, nor durst approachen near, 
But th' other forc'd him stay and comforted in fear. 

* Teen — anxiety. 



SPENSER. 91 



Look'd deadly dull, and stared as astoun'd ; 
His raw-bone cheeks, through penury and pine, 
Were shrunk into his jaws, as he did never dine. 
That darksome cave they enter where they find 
That cursed man low sitting on the ground, 
Musing full sadly in his sullen mind ; 
His griesly locks, long growen and unbound, 
Disordered hung about his shoulders round, 
And hid his face through which the hollow eyne. 

His garment naught but many ragged clouts, 
With thorns together pinn'd and patched was, 
The which his naked sides he wrapp'd about ; 
And him beside there lay upon the grass 
A dreary corse, whose life away did pass, 
All wallow'd in his own yet lukewarm blood, 
That from his wound yet welled fresh alas ! 
In which a rusty knife fast fixed stood, 
And made an open passage for the gushing flood. 

Still finer than this description are the morbid sophistry and 
the fascinations of terror that follow it in the original ; but as 
they are less poetical or pictorial than argumentative, the extract 
is limited accordingly. There is a tradition that when Sir 
Philip Sidney read this part of the Faerie Queene, he fell into 
transports of admiration. 



A KNIGHT IN BRIGHT ARMOR LOOKING INTO A CAVE. 

Character, A deep effect of Chiaroscuro, making deformity visible 

Painter, Rembrandt. 

But full of fire and greedy hardiment, 
The youthful knight would not for aught be stay'd, 
But forth unto the darksome hole he went, 
And looked in. His glistering armor made 
A little glooming light, much like a shade ; 37 
By which he saw the ugly monster plain, 
Half like a serpent horribly display'd, 
But th' other half did woman's shape retain, 
Most loathsome, filthy foul, and full of vile disdain 



92 SPENSER. 



37 " A little glooming light, much like a shade."— Spenser is very 
fond of this eifect, and has repeatedly painted it. I am not 
aware that anybody noticed it before him. It is evidently the 
original of the passage in Milton : — 

Where glowing embers through the room 
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom. 



Observe the pause at the words looked in. 



MALBECCO SEES HELLENORE DANCING WITH THE SATYRS 

Character, Luxurious Abandonment to Mirth ; Painter, Nicholas 

Poussin. 

— Afterwards, close creeping as he might, 
He in a bush did hide his fearful head : 
The jolly satyrs, full of fresh delight, 
Came dancing forth, and with them nimbly led 
Fair Hellenore, with garlands all bespread, 
Whom their May-lady they had newly made : 
She, proud of that new honor which they redd,* 
And of their lovely fellowship full glad, 
Danc'd lively : and her face did with a laurel shade. 

The silly man then in a thicket lay, 
Saw all this goodly sport, and grieved sore, 
Yet durst he not against it do or say, 
But did his heart with bitter thoughts engore 
To see the unkindness of his Hellenore. 
All day they danced with great lustyhead, 
And with their horned feet the green grass wore, 
The whiles their goats upon the browses fed, 
Till drooping Phabus 'gan to hide his golden head. 

* " That new honor which they redd." — Areaded, awarded. 



SPENSER. 93 



LANDSCAPE, 

WITH DAMSELS CONVEYING A WOUNDED SQUIRE ON HIS HORSE. 

Character, Select Southern Elegance, with an intimation of Jine Ar- 
chitecture ; Painter, Claude. {Yet "mighty" woods hardly belong 
to him.) 

Into that forest far they thence him led, 
Where was their dwelling, in a pleasant glade 
With mountains round about environed ; 
And mighty woods which did the valley shade 
And like a stately theatre it made, 
Spreading itself into a spacious plain ; 
And in the midst a little river play'd 
Amongst the pumy stones, which seem'd to plain 
With gentle murmur, that his course they did restrain. 

Beside the same a dainty place there lay, 

Planted with myrtle trees and laurels green, 

In which the birds sung many a lovely lay 

Of God's high praise and of their sweet love's teen, 

As it an earthly paradise had been ; 

In whose enclosed shadows there was pight 

A fair pavilion, scarcely to be seen. 



THE NYMPHS AND GRACES DANCING TO A SHEPHERD'S 

PIPE; or, 

APOTHEOSIS OF A POET'S MISTRESS. 

Character, Nakedness without Impudency : Multitudinous and Innocent 
Delight ; Exaltation of the principal Person from Circumstances, 
rather than her own Ideality ; Painter, Albano. 

Unto this place whereas the elfin knight 
Approach'd, him seemed that the merry sound 



94 SPENSER 



Of a shrill pipe he playing heard on height, 

And many feet fast thumping the hollow ground ; 

That through the woods their echo did rebound ; 

He higher drew, to weet what might it be ; 

There he a troop of ladies dancing found 

Full merrily, and making gladful glee, 

And in the midst a shepherd piping he did see. 

He durst not enter into the open green, 

For dread of them unwares to be descry'd, 

For breaking off their dance, if he were seen ; 

But in the covert of the wood did bide, 

Beheld of all, yet of them unespied : 

There he did see (that pleas'd much his sight 

That even he himself his eyes envied) 

A hundred naked maidens, lily white, 

All ranged in a ring, and dancing in delight. 

All they without were ranged in a ring 
And danced round, but in the midst of them 
Three other ladies did both dance and sing, 
The whilst the rest them round about did hem, 
And like a garland did in compass stem ; 
And in the midst of those same three were placed 
Another damsel, as a precious gem 
Amidst a ring most richly well enchaced, 
That with her goodly presence all the rest much gracea. 

Those were the Graces, daughters of delight. 
Handmaids of Venus, which are wont to haunt 
Upon this hill, and dance there day and night ; 
Those three to man all gifts of grace do graunt, 
And all that Venus in herself doth vaunt 
Is borrowed of them ; but that fair one 
That in the midst was placed paravaunt, 
Was she to whom that shepherd pip'd alone, 

That made him pipe so merrily as never none. 

I 

She was, to weet, that jolly shepherd's lass 
Which piped there unto that merry rout; 
That jolly shepherd, which there piped, was 
Poor Colin Clout (who knows not Colin Clout ?) ; 
He pip'd apace, whilst they him danc'd about. 
Pipe, jolly shepherd ! pipe thou noiv apace 
Unto thy love, that made thee low to lout ; 
Thy love is present there with thee in place, 
Thy love is there advaunst to be another grace. 39 



SPENSER. 95 



38 " Thy love is there advanc'd," &c. — And there she remains, 
dancing in the midst of the Graces for ever, herself a Grace, 
made one by the ordinance of the poor but great poet who here 
addresses himself under his pastoral title, and justly prides him- 
self on the power of conferring immortality on his love. The 
apostrophe is as affecting as it is elevating, and the whole scene 
conceived in the highest possible spirit of mixed wildness and 
delicacy. 



A PLUME OF FEATHERS AND AN ALMOND TREE. 

In this instance, which is the one he adduces in proof of his 
remark on the picturesque, the reader must agree with Cole- 
ridge, that the description (I mean of the almond tree), however 
charming, is not fit for a picture : it wants accessories ; to say 
nothing of the reference to the image illustrated, and the feeling 
of too much minuteness and closeness in the very distance. 
Who is to paint the tender locks " every one," and the whisper 
of " every little breath ?" 

Upon the top of all his lofty crest 
A bunch of hairs discolor'd diversely, 
With sprinkled pearl and gold full richly dress'd, 
Did shake and seem to dance for jollity. 
Like to an almond tree, ymounted high, 
On top of green Selinis all alone, 
With blossoms brave bedecked daintily, 
Whose tender locks do tremble every tne, 
At every little breath that under heaven is blown. 

What an exquisite last line ! but the whole stanza is perfec- 
tion. The word jollity seems to show the plumpness of the 
plume ; what the fop in Moliere calls its embonpoint. 

Hola, porteurs, hola ! La, la, la, la, la, la. Je pense que ces marauds- 
la ont dessein de me briser a force de heurter contre les murailles et lea 
paves. 

1 Porteur. Dame, c'est que la porte est etroite. Vous avez voulu aussi 
que nous soyons entres jusqu'ici. 



96 SPENSER. 



Mascarille. Je le crois bien. Voudriez-vous, faquins, que j'exposasse 
l'embonpoint de mes plumes aux inclemences de la saison pluvieuse, et que 
j"allasse imprimer mes souliers en boue ? — Les Precieuses Ridicules, sc. 7. 

[Mascarille (to the sedan chairmen). Stop, stop ! What the devil is all 
this ? Am I to be beaten to pieces against the walls and pavement ? 

Chairman. Why you see the passage is narrow. You told us to bring 
"Vm right in. 

Mascarille. Unquestionably. Would you have me expose the embon- 
point of my feathers to the inclemency of the rainy season, and leave the 
impression of my pumps in the mud ?] 



Our gallery shall close with a piece of 

ENCHANTED MUSIC. 

Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound 
Of all that might delight a dainty ear. 
Such as, at once, might not on living ground, 
Save in this paradise be heard elsewhere : 
Right hard it was for wight which did it hear 
To weet what manner music that might be, 
For all that pleasing is to living ear 
Was there consorted in one harmony ; 
Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree. 

The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade 
Their notes unto the voice attempred sweet: 
Th' angelical, soft, trembling voices made 
To th' instruments divine respondence meet ; 
The silver sounding instruments did meet 
With the base murmur of the water's fall ; 
The water's fall, with difference discreet, 
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call ; 
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all. 39 

3 9 " The gentle warbling wind," &c. This exquisite stanza is a 
specimen of perfect modulation, upon the principles noticed in 
the description of Archimago 's Hermitage. The reader may, 
perhaps, try it upon them. " Compare it," says Upton, " with 
Tasso's Gierusalemme Liberata, canto 16, st. 12." Readers 
who understand Italian will gladly compare it, and see how far 
their countryman has surpassed the sweet poet of the south. 



MARLOWE. 97 



MARLOWE, 

BORN, ACCORDING TO MALONE, ABOUT 1565> DIED, 1593. 



If ever there was a born poet, Marlowe was one. He perceived 
thiags in their spiritual as well as material relations, and im- 
pressed them with a corresponding felicity. Rather, he struck 
them as with something sweet and glowing that rushes by ; — 
perfumes from a censer, — glances of love and beauty. And he 
could accumulate images into as deliberate and lofty a grandeur. 
Chapman said of him, that he stood 

Up to the chin in the Pierian flood. 

Drayton describes him as if inspired by the recollection : — 

Next Marlowe, bathed in the Thespian springs, 
Had in him those brave translunary things, 
That the first poets had ; his raptures were 
All air and fire, which made his verses clear 
For that fine madness still he did retain, 
Which righth/ short Id possess a poet's brain. 

But this happy genius appears to have had as unhappy a will, 
which obscured his judgment. It made him condescend to 
write fustian for the town, in order to rule over it ; subjected 
him to the charge of impiety, probably for nothing but too scorn- 
fully treating irreverent notions of the Deity; and brought him, 
in the prime of his life, to a violent end in a tavern. His plays 
abound in wilful and self-worshipping speeches, and every one 
of them turns upon some kind of ascendency at the expense of 
other people. He was the head of a set of young men from the 
university, the Peeles, Greens, and others, all more or less pos- 
sessed of a true poetical vein, who, bringing scholarship to the 

8 



98 MARLOWE. 



theatre, were intoxicated with the new graces they threw on the 
old bombast, carried to their height the vices as well as wit of 
the town, and were destined to see, with indignation and aston- 
ishment, their work taken out of their hands, and lone better, by 
the uneducated interloper from Stratford-upon-Avon. • 

Marlowe enjoys the singular and (so far) unaccountable 
honor of being the only English writer to whom Shakspeare 
seems to have alluded with approbation. In As You Like It, 
Phoebe says, 

Dead Shepherd ! now I know thy saw of might, — 
" Who ever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight ?" 

The " saw " is in Marlowe's Hero and Leander, a poem not 
comparable with his plays. 

The ranting part of Marlowe's reputation has been chiefly 
owing to the tragedy of TamburJainc, a passage in which is 
laughed at in Henry the Fourth, and has become famous. Tam- 
burlaine cries out to the captive monarchs whom he has yoked 
to his car, — 

Hollo, ye pampered jades of Asia, 

What ! can ye draw but twenty miles a-day, 

And have so proud a chariot at your hi 

And such a coachman as great Tamburhune ? 

Then follows a picture drawn with real pootry: 

The horse that guide the golden eye of heaven, 

And blow the morning from their nostrils (read nosterils), 

Making their fiery gait above the clouds, 

Are not so honor'd in their governor, 

As you, ye slaves, in mighty Tamburlaine. 

It has .atterly been thought, that a genius like Marlowe could 
have had no hand in a play so bombastic as this huffing tragedy. 
But besides the weighty and dignified, though monotonous tone 
of his versification in many places (what Ben Jonson, very ex- 
actly as well as finely, calls " Marlowe's mighty line,") there 
are passages in it of force and feeling, of which I doubt whether 
any of his contemporaries were capable in so sustained a degree, 
though Green and Peele had felicitous single lines, and occa- 



MARLOWE. 99 



sionally a refined sweetness. Take, for instance, the noble 
verses to be found in the description of Tamburlaine himself, 
which probably suggested to Milton his " Atlantean shoulders " 
— " fit to bear mightiest monarchies " — and to Beaumont a fine 
image, which the reader will see in his Melancholy : — 

Of stature tall and straightly fashioned 

Like his desire lift upward and divine, 

So large of limbs, his joints so strongly knit, 

Such breadth of shoulders as might mainly bear 

Old Atlas' burthen :— 

Pale of complexion, wrought in him with passion, &c. 

By " passion " we are to understand, not anger, but deep emo- 
tions. Peele or Green might possibly have written the beauti- 
ful verse that closes these four lines : 

Kings of Argier, Moroccus, and of Fesse, 
You that have marched with happy Tamburlaine 
As far as from the frozen place of heaven 
Unto the watery morning's ruddy bower : — 

but the following is surely Marlowe's own : — 

As princely lions when they rouse themselves, 
Stretching their paws and threatening herds of beasts, 
So in his armor looketh Tamburlaine. — 

And in the following is not only a hint of the scornful part of 
his style, such as commences the extract from the Jew of Malta, 
but the germ of those lofty and harmonious nomenclatures, which 
have been thought peculiar to Milton. 

So from the cast unto the farthest west 
Shall Tamburlaine extend his puissant arm. 
The gallies and those pilling brig and ines 
That yearly sail to the Venetian gulf 
And h wer in the Straits for Christian wreck, 
Shall lie at anchor in the isle Jlrant, 
Until the Persian fleet cttid men of wars, 
Sailing along the Oriental sea, 
Have fetch' d about the Indian continent, 
Even from Persepolis to Mexico, 
And thence unto the Straits of Jub altar. 



100 MARLOWE. 



Milton never surpassed the elevation of that close. Who also 
bul Marlowe is likely to have written the fine passage extracted 
into this volume, under the title of "Beauty beyond Expression," 
in which the thought argues as much expression, as the style a 
confident dignity ? Tamburlaine was most likely a joint-stocK 
piece, got up from the manager's chest by Marlowe, Nash, and 
perhaps half-a-dozen others ; for there are two consecutive plays 
en the subject, and the theatres of our own time are not unac- 
quainted with this species of manufacture. 

But I am forgetting the plan of my book. Marlowe, like 
Spenser, is to be looked upon as a poet who had no native pre- 
cursors. As Spenser is to be criticised with an eye to his 
poetic ancestors, who had nothing like the Faerie Queene, so is 
Marlowe with reference to the authors of Gorboduc. He got 
nothing from them ; he prepared the way for the versification, 
the dignity, and the pathos of his successors, who have nothing 
finer of the kind to show than the death of Edward the Second 
— not Shakspeare himself: — and his imagination, like Spenser's, 
haunted those purely poetic regions of ancient fabling and mod- 
ern rapture, of beautiful forms and passionate expressions, which 
they were the first to render the common pi'operty of inspiration, 
and whence their language drew " empyreal air." Marlowe 
and Spenser are the first of our poets who perceived the beauty 
of words ; not as apart from their significance, nor upon occa- 
sion only, as Chaucer did (more marvellous in that than them- 
selves, or than the originals from whom he drew), but as a habit 
of the poetic mood, and as receiving and reflecting beauty 
through the feeling of the ideas. 



THE JEW OF MALTA'S IDEA OF WEALTH. 

So that of thus much that return was made, 
And of the third part of the Persian ships, 
There was the venture summ'd and satisfied 
As for those Samnites, and the men of Uz, 
That bought my Spanish oils and wines of Greece, 1 
Here have I purs'd their paltry silverlings. 



MARLOWE. : 01 



Fie ; what a trouble 'tis to count this trash! 

Well fare the Arabians, who so richly pay 

The things they traffic for with wedge of gold, 

Whereof a man may easily in a day 

Tell that which may maintain him all his life 

The needy groom, that never finger' d groat, 

Would make a miracle of thus much coin ; 

But he whose steel-barr'd coffers are cramm'd full, 

And all his life-time had been tired (read ti-er-ed), 

Wearying his fingers' ends with telling it, 

Would in his age be loth to labor so, 

And for a pound to sweat himself to death. 

Give me the merchants of the Indian mines, 

That trade in metal of the purest mould ; 

The wealthy Moor, that in the eastern rocks 

Without control can pick his riches up, 

And in his house heap pearl like pebblestones ; 

Receive them free, and sell them by the weight ; 

Bags of fiery opals, sapphires, amethysts, 

Jacinths, hard topaz, grass-green emeralds, 

Beauteous rubies, sparkling diamonds, 

And seld-seen costly stones of so great price, 

As one of them indifferently rated, 

And of a carat of this quantity, 

•May serve, in peril of calamity, 

To ransom great kings from captivity : 

This is the ware wherein consists my wealth ; 

And thus, methinks, should men of judgment frame 

Their means of traffic from the vulgar trade, 

And as their wealth increaseth, so inclose 

Infinite riches in a little room. 

But now how stands the wind ? 

Into what corner peers my halcyon's bill ?* 

Ha ! to the East ? yes ; see how stand the vanes ? 

East and by south. Why then, I hope my ships 

I sent for Egypt and the bordering isles 

Arc gotten up by Nilus' winding banks ; 

Mine argosies from Alexandria,- 

Loaden with spice and silks, now under sail, 

Are smoothly gliding down by Candy shore 

To Malta, through our Mediterranean Sea. 

i " Samnites" and " men of Uz," and " Spanish oils ."' — That IS to 
say, countrymen and contemporaries of old Rome, of Arabian 

* " My halcyon's bill.'' — The halcyon is the figure on the vane. 



102 MARLOWE. 

Job, and the modern Spanish merchants ! Marlowe, though he 
was a scholar, cared no more for geography and consistent his- 
tory than Shakspeare. He took the world as he found it at the 
theatre, where it was a mixture of golden age innocence, tragi- 
cal enormity, and a knowledge superior to all petty and transi- 
tory facts. 

2 " Mine argosies from Alexandria," &c. — Note the wonderful 
sweetness of these four lines, particularly the last. The variety 
of the vowels, the delicate alliteration, and the lapse of the two 
concluding verses, are equal, as a study, to anything in Spenser. 



A VISION OF HELEN. 

She passes between two Cupids, having been summoned from the next 
world by desire of Faustus. 

Faust. Was this the face that launch' d a thousand ships, 
And burnt the topmost towers of Ilium ? 
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss. — 
Her lips suck forth my soul ! see where it flies. 
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again. 
Here will I dwell, for heav'n is in these lips, 
Jlnd all is dross that is not Helena. 
I will be Paris ; and for love of thee, 
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack'd ; 
And I will combat with weak Menelaus, 
And wear my colors on my plumed crest ; 
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel, 
And then return to Helen for a kiss. 
Oh, thou art fairer than the evening air, 
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars ; 
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter, 3 
When he appear'd to hapless Semele ; 
More lovely than the monarch of the sea, 
In wanton Arethusa's azure arms ; 
And none but thou shalt be my paramour ! 

3 " Brighter art thou," &c. — Much cannot be said of the five 
lines here ensuing ; but their retention was necessary to the 
entire feeling or classical association of the speech, if not to a 
certain lingering modulation. 



MARLOWE. 0-3 



MYTHOLOGY AND COURT AMUSEMENTS. 

Craveston meditates how to govern Edward the Second 

I must have wanton poets, pleasant wits, 
Musicians, that with touching of a string 
May draw the pliant king which way I please. 
Music and poetry are his delight: 
Therefore I'll have Italian masks by night ; 
Sweet speeches, comedies, and pleasing shows ; 
And in the day, when he shall walk abroad, 
Like sylvan nymphs my pages shall be clad : 
My men, like satyrs grazing on the lawns, 
Shall with their goat-feet dance the antic hay. 
Sometimes a lovely boy in Dian's shape, 
With hair that gilds the water as it glides, 
Shall bathe him in a spring ; and there, hard by, 
One, like Actaeon, peeping through the grove, 
Shall by the angry goddess be transform'd; 
And running in the likeness of a hart, 
By yelping hounds pull'd down, shall seem to die — 
Such things as these best please his Majesty. 



LEAUTY BEYOND EXPRESSION. 

If all the pens that. ev< si I. rid 

Had fed the feeling of their master's thoughts, 
And ev'ry sweetness that inspired their hearts, 
And minds, and muses on admired themes; 
If all the heavenly quintessence they still 

>m their immortal flowers of poesy, 
Wherein, as in a mirror, wc perceive 
The reaches of a human wit ; 

If these had made one poem's period, 
And all combin'd in beauty's worthiness 
Yet should there hover in their restless heads, 
On> thought, one grace, one wonder, at the bent, 
Which into words no virtue can digest 



i(M MARLOWE. 



THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE. 

Come live with me and be my love, 
And ive will all the pleasures prove, 
That hill and valley, grove and field, 
And all the craggy mountains yield 
There will we sit upon the rocks, 
And see the shepherds feed their flocks 
By shallow rivers, to whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals, 
There will I make thee beds of roses, 
With a thousand fragrant posies ; 
A cap of flowers and a kirtle 
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle ; 
A gown made of the finest wool 
Which from our pretty lambs we pull ; 
Slippers lin'd ch < for the cold, 
With buckles of the purest gold ; 
A belt of straw, and ivy buds, 
With coral clasps and amber studs. 

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing 
For thy delight each May morning ; 
And if these pleasures may thee move, 
Then live with me and be my love. 

This song is introduced, not so much for its poetical excel- 
lence (though it is quite what a poet would write on the occa- 
sion) as because it is one of those happy embodiments of a 
thought which all the world thinks at some time or other; and 
which therefore takes wonderfully with them when somebody 
utters it. The " golden buckles" and " amber studs" are not 
to be considered as a contradiction to the rest of the imagery ; 
for we are to suppose it a gentlewoman to whom the invitation is 
addressed, and with whom her bridegroom proposes to go and 
play at shepherd and shepherdess, at once realizing the sweets 
of lowliness and the advantages of wealth. A charming fancy! 
and realized too sometimes; though Sir Walter Raleigh could 
not let it alone, but must needs refute it in some excellent 



MARLOWE. 105 



verses, too good for the occasion. Sir Walter, a great but wil- 
ful man (in some respects like Marlowe himself, and a true poet 
too — I wish he had written more poetry), could pass and 
ultimately lose his life in search of El Dorados, — whole coun- 
tries made of gold, — but doubted whether an innocent young 
lady and gentleman, or so, should aim at establishing a bit of 
Arcadia. 

There are so many copies of this once-popular production, all 
different and none quite consistent, owing, no doubt, to oral 
repetitions and the license of musical setting (for no copy of it 
is to be found coeval with its production), that, after studious 
comparison of several, I have exercised a certain discretion in 
the one here printed, and omitted also an ill-managed repetition 
of the burthen : — not, of course, with the addition of a syllable. 
Such readers, therefore, as it may concern, are warned not to 
take the present copy for granted, at the expense of the others ; 
but to compare them all, and make his choice. 



i0 6 SHAKSPEARE. 



SHAKSPEARE, 

BORN, 1564 DIED, 1616. 



Shakspeare is here in his purely poetical creations, apart (as 
much as it is possible for such a thinker and humanist to be) 
from thought and humanity. There is nothing wanting either to 
the imagination or fancy of Shakspeare. The one is lofty, rich, 
affecting, palpable, subtle ; the other full of grace, playfulness, 
and variety. He is equal to the greatest poets in grandeur of 
imagination ; to all in diversity of it ; to all in fancy ; to all in 
everything else, except in a certain primaeval intensity, such as 
Dante's and Chaucer's; and in narrative poetry, which (to 
judge from Venus and Adonis, and the Rape of Lucrece) he 
certainly does not appear to have had a call to write. He over- 
informed it with reflection. It has been supposed that when 
Milton spoke of Shakspeare as 

Fancy's child 
Warbling his native wood-notes wild, 

the genealogy did him injustice. But the critical distinction 
between Fancy and Imagination was hardly determined till of 
late. Collins himself, in his Ode on the Poetical Character, 
uses the word Fancy to imply both, even when speaking of 
Milton ; and so did Milton, I conceive, when speaking of Shaks- 
peare. The propriety of the words, "native wood-notes wild," 
is not so clear. I take them to have been hastily said by a 
learned man of an unlearned. But Shakspeare, though he had 
not a college education, was as learned as any man, in the 
highest sense of the word, by a scholarly intuition. He had the 
spirit of learning. He was aware of the education he wanted. 



SHAKSPEARE. 107 

and by some means or other supplied it. He could anticipate 
Milton's own Greek and Latin ; 

Tortive and errant from his course of growth — 
The multitudinous seas incarnardine — 
A pudency so rosy, &c. 

In fact, if Shakspeare's poetry has any fault, it is that of being 
too learned ; too over-informed with thought and allusion. His 
wood-notes wild surpass Haydn and Bach. His wild roses were 
all twenty times double. He thinks twenty times to another 
man's once, and makes all his serious characters talk as well as 
he could himself, — with a superabundance of wit and intelli- 
gence. He knew, however, that fairies must have a language 
of their own ; and hence, perhaps, his poetry never runs in a 
more purely poetical vein than when he is speaking in their 
persons ; — I mean it is less mixed up with those heaps of com- 
ments and reflections which, however the wilful or metaphysical 
critic may think them suitable on all occasions, or succeed in 
persuading us not to wish them absent, by reason of their stimu- 
lancy to one's mental activity, are assuredly neither always 
proper to dramatic, still less to narrative poetry; nor yet so 
opposed to all idiosyncrasy on the writer's part as Mr. Coleridge 
would have us believe. It is pretty manifest, on the contrary, 
that the over-informing intellect which Shakspeare thus carried 
into all his writings, must have been a personal as well as lite- 
rary peculiarity ; and as the events he speaks of are sometimes 
more interesting in their nature than even a superabundance of 
his comments can make them, readers may be pardoned in 
sometimes wishing that he had let them speak a little more 
briefly for themselves. Most people would prefer Ariosto's and 
Chaucer's narrative poetry to his; the Griselda, for instance, 
and the story of Isabel, — to the Rape of Lucrece. The intense 
passion is enough. The misery is enough. We do not want 
even the divinest talk about what Nature herself tends to petrify 
into silence. Curce ingenies stupent. Our divine poet had not 
quite outlived the times when it was thought proper for a writer 
to say everything that came into his head. He was a student 
of Chaucer: he beheld the living fame of Spenser ; and his 



JOS SHAKSPEARE. 

fellow-dramatists did not help to restrain him. The players told 
Ben Jonson that Shakspeare never blotted a line ; and Ben says 
he was thought invidious for observing, that he wished he had 
blotted a thousand. He sometimes, he says, required stopping. 
{Aliquando sufflaminandus erat.) Was this meant to apply to 
his conversation as well as writing ? Did he manifest a like 
exuberance in company ? Perhaps he would have done so, but 
for modesty and self-knowledge. To keep his eloquence alto- 
gether within bounds was hardly possible ; and who could have 
wished it had been? Would that he had had a Boswell a 
hundred times as voluminous as Dr. Johnson's, to take all down ! 
Bacon's Essays would have seemed like a drop out of his ocean. 
He would have swallowed dozens of Hobbeses by anticipation, 
like. larks for his supper. 

If Shakspeare, instead of proving himself the greatest poet in 
the world, had written nothing but the fanciful scenes in this 
volume, he would still have obtained a high and singular repu- 
tation, — that of Poet of the Fairies. For he may be said to 
have invented the Fairies ; that is to say, he was the first that 
turned them to poetical account ; that bore them from clownish 
neighborhoods to the richest soils of fancy and imagination. 



WHOLE STORY OF THE TEMPEST. 

ENCHANTMENT, MONSTROSITY, AND LOVE. 

The whole story of the Tempest is really contained :'m this 
scene. 

J\fira. I pray you, sir, 
(For still 'tis beating in my mind) your reason 
For raising this sea-storm ? 

Pro. Know thus far forth ;— 

By accident, most strange, bountiful fortune, 
Now my dear lady, hath mine enemies 
Brought to this shore : and by my prescience, 
I find my zenith doth depend upon 



SHAKSPEARE. 109 



A most auspicious star : whose influence, 

If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes 

Will ever after droop : — here cease more questions ; 

Thou art inclin'd to sleep ; 'tis a good duln'iss, 

And give it way ; — I know thou canst not choose. — 

{Miranda sleeps.') 
Come away, servants, come ; I am ready pow ; 
Approach, my Ariel ; come. 

Enter Ariel 

Ari. All hail, great master ! grave sir- hail ! I come 
To answer thy best pleasure : be 't to fly, 
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride 
On the curl'd clouds ; to thy strong bidding, task 
Ariel, and all his quality. 

Pro. Hast thou, spirit, 

Perform'd to point the tempest that I bachi thee? 

Ari. To every article. 
I boarded the king's ship ; now on the berk, 
Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin, 
IJlam'd amazement. Sometimes, I'd div'df, 
And burn in many places ; on the top-mast, 
The yards, and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly, 
Then meet, ami join : Jove's lightnings, the precursors 
& the dreadful thunder-claps more momentary 
And sight out-running were not : the fire and cr-vks 
Of sulphurous roaring, the most mighty Neptune 
Seemed to besiege, and make his bold waves trembl-* 
Yea, his dread trident shake. 

Pro. c My brave spirit ! 

Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil 
Would not infect his reason ? 

Ari. Not a soul 

IJut felt a fever of the mind, and play'd 
Some tricks of desperation; all, but mariners, 
Plung'd in the foaming brine, and quit the vessi 1 
Then all a-jire with me: the king's sun, Ferdinand 
Willi hair up-staring (then like reeds, not hair), 

the firsl man that leap'd; cried, Hell is empty, 
And all the devils are here. 

Pro. Why that 's my spirit ! 

But was not this nigh shore? 

Ari. Close h\ , mj master. 

Pro. But are they, Ariel, sale ? 

Ari. Not a hair perish'd ; 

On their sustaining garments not a blemish, 



110 SHAKSPEARE. 



But fresher than before : and as thou bad'st me, 
In troops I have dispers'd them 'bout the isle : 
The king's son have I landed by himself; 
Whom I left cooling of the air with sighs, 
In an odd angle of the isle, and sitting, — 
His arms in this sad knot. 

Pro. Of the king's ship, 

The mariners, say, how thou hast dispos'd, 
And all the rest o' the fleet ? 

Ari. Safely in harbor 

Is the king's ship ; in the nook, where once 
Thou calVdst me up at midnight to fetch dew 
From the still vexed Bermoothes ; there she's hid ; 
The mariners all undec hatches stow'd ; 
Whom, with a charm join'd to their suffer'd labor, 
I have left asleep ; and for the rest o' the fleet, 
Which I dispers'd, they all have met again ; 
And are upon the Mediterranean flote, 
Bound sadly home for Naples ; 
Supposing that they saw the king's ship wreck'd, 
And his great person perish. 

Pro. Ariel, my charge 

Exactly is perform'd ; but there's more work : 
What is the time o' the day ? 

Ari. Past the mid season. 

Pro. At least two glasses : the time 'twixt six and now, 
Must by us both be spent most preciously. 

Ari. Is there more toil ? Since thou dost give me pains, 
Let me remember thee what thou hast promis'd, 
Which is not yet performed me. 

Pro. How now ! moody ? • 

What is 't thou canst demand ? 

Ari. My liberty. 

Pro. Before the time be out ? no more. 

Ari. I pray thee 

Remember, I have done thee worthy service ; 
Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, serv'd 
Without or grudge or grumblings : thou didst promise 
To bate me a full year. 

Pro. Dost thou forget 

From what a torment I did free thee ? 

ArL No. 

Pro. Thou dost ; and think'st 
It much to tread the ooze of the salt deep , 
To run upon the sharp wind of the north ; 
To do me business in the veins of the earth, 









SHAKSPEARE. Ill 



When it is bak'd with frost. 

Ari. I do not, sir. 

Pro. Thou liest, malignant thing ! Hast thou forgot 
The foul witch Sycorax, who, with age and envy, 
Was grown into a hoop ? Hast thou forgot her ? 
Ari. No, sir. 

Pro. Thou hast : where was she born ? speak ; tell me. 

Ari. Sir, in Argier. 

Pro. 0, was she so ? I must, 

Once in a month, recount what thou hast been, 
Which thou forget'st. This damn'd witch, Sycorax, 
For mischiefs manifold, and sorceries terrible 
To enter human hearing, from Argier 
Thou know'st was banish'd, for one thing she did ; 
They would not take her life : Is not this true ? 
Ari. Aye, sir. 

Pro. This blue-ey'd hag was hither brought with child, 
And here was left by the sailors : Thou, my slave, 
As thou report'st thyself, was then her servant : 
And, for thou wast a spirit too delicate 
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands, 
Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee 
By help of her more potent ministers, 
And in her most unmitigable rage, 
Into a cloven pine : within which rift, 
Imprison'd, thou didst painfully remain 
A dozen years ; within which space she died, 
And left thee there ; where thou didst vent thy groans, 
As fast as mill-wheels strike: Then was this island 
(Save for the son which she did litter here, 
A freckled whelp, hag-born) not honor'd with 
A human shape. 

Ari. Yes ; Caliban her son. 

Pro. Dull thing, I say so, — he, that Caliban, 
Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know'st 
What torments I did find thee in ; thy groans 
Did make wolves howl, and penetrate the breasts 
Of ever angry bears : it was a torment 
To lay upon the damn'd, which Sycorax 
Could not again undo ; it was mine art, 
When I arriv'd, and heard thee, that made gape 
The pine and let thee out. 

Ari. I thank thee, master. 

Pro. If thou more murmur'st, I will rend an oak. 
And peg thee in his knotty entrails, till 
Thou hast howl'd away twelve winters. 



112 SHAKSPEARE. 



Ari. Pardon, master : 

I will be correspondent to command, 
And do my spiriting gently. 

Pro. Do so ; and after two days 

I will discharge thee. 

An. That's my noble master ! 

What shall I do ? say ? what shall I do ? 

Pro. Go make thyself like to a nymph o' the sea ; 
Be subject to no sight but mine ; invisible 
To every eyeball else. Go, take this shape, 
And hither come in 't : hence with diligence. 

{Exit Ariel.) 

Awake, dear heart, awake ! thou hast slept well : 
Awake ! 

Mira. The strangeness of your story put 
Heaviness in me. 

Pro. Shake it off; come on ; 

We'll visit Caliban, my slave, who never 
Yields us kind answer. 

Mira. 'Tis a villain, sir, 

I do not love to look on. 

Pro. But as 'tis, 

We cannot miss him ; he does make our fire, 
Fetch in our wood, and serves in offices 
That profit us. What ho ! slave ! Caliban ! 
Thou earth thou ! speak. 

Calx, {within.) — There's wood enough within. 

Pro. Come forth, I say : there's other business for tnee. 
Come forth, thou tortoise ! when ? 

Re-enter Ariel, like a water-nymph. 

Fine apparition ! my quaint Ariel ! 
Hark in thine ear. 

Ari. My lord, it shall be done. 

(T2xif\ 

Pro. Thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself 
Upon thy wicked dam, come forth ! 

Enter Caliban. 

Cali. As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush , d 
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen 
Drop on you both ! a south-west blow on ye, 
And blister you all o'er ! 

Pro. For this, be sure, to-night thou shalt have cramps, 
•iide-stitches that shall pen thy breath up ; urchins 



SHAKSPEARE. 11 J 



Shall, for that vast of night that they may work, 
All exercise on thee : thou shalt be pinch'd 
As thick as honey-combs, each pinch more stinging 
Than bees that made them. 

Call. I must eat my dinner ! 

This island's mine, by Sycorax, my mother, 
Which thou tak'st from me. When thou earnest first, 
Thou strok'dst me, and mad'st much of me ; would'st give me 
Water with berries in't; and teach me how 
To name the bigger light, and how the less 
That burn by day and night : and then I lov'd thee, 
And show'd thee all the qualities o' the isle. 
The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place, and fertile; 
Cursed be I that did so ! All the charms 
Of Sycorax, toads, beetles, bats, light on you ! 
For I am all the subjects that you have, 
Which first was mine own king; and here you sty me 
In this hard rock, whiles you do keep from me 
The rest of the island. 

Pro. Thou most lying slave, 

Who . not kindness, — I have us'd thee, 

Filth as thou art, with human care; and lodg'd thee 
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate 
The honor of my child. 

Call. O ho, O ho ! would it had been done ! 
Thou didst prevent me ; I had peopled else 
This isle with Calibans. 

Pro. Abhorred slave ; 

Which any print of goodness will not take, 
Being capable of all ill ! I pitied thee, 
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour 
One thing or other; when thou didst not, savage, 
Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble, like 
A thing most brutish, I endow'd thy purposes 
With words that made them known : but thy vile race, 
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good natures 
Could not abide to be with; therefore wast thou 
! I isi rvedlj confin'd into this rock, 
Who hadst deserv'd more than a prison. 

Call. \ oh taught me Language; and my profit on't 
Is, I know how to curse: the red plague rid you, 
For Learning me your Language ! 

Pro. Hag-seed, hence ' 

Fetch us in fuel ; and be quick, thou wert best, 
To answer other business. Shrug'st thou, malice? 
If thou neglect'st, or dost unwillingly 
9 



114 SHAKSPEARE. 

What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps, 
Fill all thy bones with aches ; make thee roar, 
That beasts shall tremble at thy din. 

Call. No, 'pray thee ! 

I must obey : his art is of such power, {Aside.) 
It would control my dam's god, Setebos, 
And make a vassal of him. 

Pro. So, slave ; hence ! 

[Exit Caliban. 

Re-enter Ariel, invisible, playing and singing ; Ferdinand 

following him. 

Ariel's Song. 
Come unto these yellow sands, 

And then take hands ; 
Courtsied when you have, and kiss'd 

(The wild waves whist) 
Foot it featly here and there ; 
And, sweet sprites, the burden bear. 

Hark, hark ! 
Burthen. Bowgh, wowgh. {dispersed! y) 

The watch-dogs bark : 
Bur. Bowgh, wowgh. 
Hark, hark ! I hear 
The strain of strutting chanticlere 
Cry, Cock-a-doodle-doo. 
Fer. Where should this music be ? i' the air, or the earth ? 
It sounds no more ; — and sure it waits upon 
Some god of the island. Sitting on a bank, 
Weeping again the king my father's wreck, 
This music crept by me upon the waters ; 
Allaying both their fury, and my passion, 
With its sweet air ; thence I have follow'd it, 
Or it hath drawn me rather. — But 'tis gone : — 
No. it begins again. 

Ariel sings. 
Full fathom five thy father lies ; 

Of his bones are coral made ; 
Tliose are pearls that were his eyes; 

Nothing of him that doth fade, 
But doth suffer a sea-change 
Into some rich thing and strange. 
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell ; 
Hark ! now I hear them, — ding, dong, bell. 
(Burthen, Ding-dong.) 



SHAKSPEAKE. lift 



Fer. The ditty does remember my drowned father, 
This is no mortal business, nor no sound 
That the earth owes ;— I hear it now above me. 

Pro. The fringed curtains of thine eye advance, 1 
And say, what thou seest yond ! 

Mira. What is 't ? a spirit ? 

Lord, how it looks about ! Believe, me, sir, 
It carries a brave form : — but 'tis a spirit. 

Pro. No, wench ; it eats and sleeps, and hath such senses 
As we have, — such. This gallant which thou seest, 
Was in the wreck ; and but he's something stain'd 
With grief, that's beauty's canker, thou might'st call him 
A goodly person : he hath lost his fellows, 
And strays about to find them. 

Mira. I might call him 

A thing divine; for nothing natural 
I ever saw so noble. 

Pro. It goes on (aside), 

As my soul prompts it : — Spirit, fine spirit ! I'll free thee 
Within two days for this. 

Fer. Most sure, the goddess 

On whom these airs attend ! — Vouchsafe, my prayer 
May know if you remain upon this island ; 
And that you will some good instructions give, 
How I may bear me here. My prime request, 
Which I do last pronounce, is, O you wonder ! 
If you be maid or no ? 

Mira. No wonder, sir ; 

But, certainly a maid. 

Fer My language ! heavens ! 

I am the best of them that speak this speech, 
Were I but where 'tis spoken. 

Pro. How ! the best ? 

What wert thou, if the King of Naples heard thee ? 

Fer. A simple thing, as I am now, that wonders 
To hear thee speak of Naples ; he does hear me ; 
And, that he does, I weep ; myself am Naples ;- 
Who with mine eyes, ne'er since at ebb, beheld 
The king my father wreck'd. 

Mira. Alack for mercy ! 

Fer. Yes, faith, and all his lords ; the Duke of Milan, 
And his brave son, being twain. 

Pro. (aside.) The Duke of Milan, 

And his more braver daughter, could control thee, 
If now 'twere fit to do 't. — At the first sight 
They have changed eyes ! — Delicate Ariel (aside), 
I'll set thee free for this ! 



11G SHAKSPEARE. 



1 The fringed curtains of thine eye advance. 

Why Shakspeare should have condescended to the elaborate 
nothingness, not to say nonsense of this metaphor (for what is 
meant by advancing "curtains?") I cannot conceive; that is 
to say, if he did condescend ; for it looks very like the interpo- 
lation of some pompous, declamatory player. Pope has put it 
into his treatise on the Bathos. 

2 " Myself am Naples." — This is a very summary and kingly 
style. Shakspeare is fond of it. " How, now, France?" says 
King John to King Philip, " I'm dying, Egypt !" says Antony to 
Cleopatra. 



MACBETH AND THE WITCHES. 

This scene fortunately comprises a summary of the whole 
subsequent history of Macbeth. 

A dark Cave. In the middle, a Caldron boiling. Thunder. 
Enter three Witches. 

1st Wi. Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd, 
2nd Wi. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whin'd, 
3rd Wi. Harper cries : — 'Tis time, 'tis time. 
1st Wi. Round about the caldron go ; 

In the poison'd entrails throw. 

Toad, that under cold stone 

Days and nights has, thirty-one, 

Swelter d venom sleeping got, 

Boil thou first i' the charmed pot ! 
All Double, double, toil and trouble ; 

Fire, burn; and, caldron, bubble. 
2nd Wi. Fillet of a fenny snake, 

In the caldron boil and bake : 

Eye of newt, and toe of fro?, 

Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, 

Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, 

Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, 

For a charm of powerful trouble ; 

Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble. 



SHAKSPEARE. 117 



All. Double, double, toil and trouble ; 

Fire, burn ; and, caldron, bubble. 
3rd Wi. Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf; 

Witches' mummy ; maw, and gulf, 

Of the ravin' d salt-sea shark ; 

Root of hemlock, digg'd i' the dark : 

Liver of blaspheming Jew ; 

Gall of goat, and slips of yew, 

Sliver 'd in the moon's eclipse ; 

Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips ; 

Finger of birth-strangled babe, 

Ditch-deliver 'd by a drab ; 

Make the gruel thick and slab ; 

Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, 

For the ingredients of our caldron. 
All. Double, double, toil and trouble, 

Fire, burn ; and, caldron, bubble. 
2nd Wi. Cool it with a baboon's blood. 

Enter Hecate and the three other Witches 
Hec. O, well done ! I commend your pains ; 
And every one shall share i' the gains, 
And now about the caldron sing, 
Like elves and fairies in a ring, 
Enchanting all that you put in. 

(Music and a Song, Black Spirits, &c.) 

2nd Wi. By the pricking of my thumbs, 

Something tricked this ivay comes: — 
Open, locks, whoever knocks. 

Enter Macbeth. 

Mac. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags, 
What is't you do? 

All. A deed without a name. 

Mac. I conjure you, by that which you profess 
(Howe'er you come to know it), answer me : 
Though you untie the winds, and let them fight 
Against the churches : though the yesty waves 
Confound and swallow navigation up ; 
Though Haded corn be lodg'd, and trees blown down ; 
Though castles topple on their warders' heads; 
Though palaces and pyramids do slope 
Their heads to their foundations ; though the treasure 
Of nature's germins tumble all together, 
Even till destruction sicken, answer me 
To what I ask you. 



215 SHAKSPEARE. 



1st Wi. Speak. 

2nd Wi. Demand. 

3rd Wi. We'll answer. 

1st Wi. Say, if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths, 
Or from our masters' ? 

Mac. Call them, let me see them. 

1st Wi. Pour in sow's blood, that hath eaten 
Her nine farrow ; grease, that's sweaten 
From the murderer's gibbet, throw 
Into the flame. 

All. Come, high or low ; 

Thyself, and office, deftly show. 

Thunder. An Apparition of an armed Head rises. 

Mac. Tell me, thou unknown power, — 

1st Wi. He knows thy thought ; 

Hear his speech, but say thou naught. 

App. Macbeth ! Macbeth ! Macbeth ! beware Macduff; 
Beware the Thane of Fife. — Dismiss me ; — Enough. 

(Descends.) 

Mac. Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution thanks ; 
Thou hast harp'd my fear aright : — But one word more ; — 

1st Wi. He will not be commanded. Here's another, 
More potent than the first. 

Thunder. An Apparition of a bloody Child rises. 3 

App. Macbeth ! Macbeth ! Macbeth ! — 

Mac. Had I three ears, Pd hear thee 

App. Be bloody, bold, and resolute ; laugh to scorn 
The power of man, for none of woman born 
Shall harm Macbeth. 

Mac. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee ? 
But yet I'll make assurance doubly sure, 
And take a bond of fate : thou shalt not live ; 
That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, 
And sleep in spite of thunder. — What is this ? 

Thunder. An Apparition of a Child crowned, with a tree in his hand, 

rises. 

That rises like the issue of a king ; 

And wears upon his baby-brow the round 

And top of sovereignty ! 

All. Listen, but speak not to 't. 

App. Be lion-mettled, proud ; and take no care 
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are ; 
Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be, until 



SHAKSPEARE. U9 



Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill 
Shall come against him. 

(Descends.) 

Mac. That will never be ; 

Who can impress the forest ; bid the tree 
Unfix his earth-bound root ? sweet bodements ! good ! 
Rebellious head, rise never, till the wood 
Of Birnam rise, and our high-plac'd Macbeth 
Shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath 
To time, and mortal custom. — Yet my heart 
Throbs to know one thing ; Tell me (if your art 
Can tell so much) shall Banquo's issue ever 
Reign in the kingdom ? 

Ml. Seek to know no more. 

Mac. I will be satisfied ; deny me this 
And an eternal curse fall on you ! Let me know : — 
Why sinks that caldron ? and what noise is this ? 

(Hautboys.) 

1st Wi. Show! 

2nd Wi. Show! 

3rd Wi. Show! 

Ml. Show his eyes and grieve his heart, 
Come like shadows, so depart. 

Eight Kings appear, and pass over the stage in order ; the last with a 
glass in his hand ; Banquo following. 

Mac. Thou art too like the spirit of Banquo ; down ! 
Thy crown does sear mine eyeballs : — And thy hair, 
Thou other gold-bound brow is like the first ; — 
A third is like the former ; — Filthy hags ! 
Why do you show me this ? a fourth ? Start, eyes ! 
What ! will the line stretch out to the crack of doom > 
Another yet ? — A seventh ? — I'll see no more : 
And yet the eighth appears, who bears a glass 
Which shows me many more ; and some I see, 
That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry : 
Horrible sight ! — Now, I see, 'tis true ; 
For the blood-bolter d Banquo smiles upon me, 
And points at them for his. — What, is this so ? 
\sl Wi. Aye, sir, all this is so: — But why 

Stands Macbeth thus amazedly ? 

Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites, 

And show the best of our delights : 

I'll charm the air to give a sound, 

While you perform your antique round ; 



120 SHAKSPEARE. 

That this great king may kindly say, 
Our duties did his welcome pay. 

(Music. The Witches dance, and va?iish.) 

Mac. Where are they ? Gone ? — Let this pernicious hour, 
Stand aye accursed in the calendar ! — 
Come in, without there ! 

Enter Lenox. 

Len. What's your grace's will ? 

Mac. Saw you the weird sisters ? 

Len. No, indeed, my lord. 

Mac. Infected be the air whereon they ride ; 
And damn'd all those that trust them ! — I did hear 
The galloping of horse ; who was 't came by ? 

Len. 'Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word, 
Macduff is fled to England. 

Mac. Fled to England ? 

Len. Ay, my good lord. 

Mac. Time, thou anticipat'st my dread exploits : 
The flighty purpose never is o'ertook, 
Unless the deed go with it : From this moment, 
The very firstlings of my heart shall be 
The firstlings of my hand. And even now 
To crown my thoughts with acts, be it thought and done : 
This castle of Ma-duff I will surprise; 
Seize upon Fife ; give to the edge o' the sword 
His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls 
That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool ; 
This deed I'll do before this purpose cool; 
But no more sights .' 4 — Where are these gentlemen ? 
Come, bring me where they are. 

(Exeunt.) 

3 " Apparition of a bloody child." — The idea of a " bloody child" 
and of his being more potent than the armed head, and one cf 
the masters of the witches, is very dreadful. So is that of the 
child crowned, with a tree in his hand. They impersonate, it is 
true, certain results of the war, the destruction of Macduff's 
children, and the succession of Banquo's; but the imagination 
does not make these reflections at first ; and the dreadfulness 
still remains, of potent demons speaking in the shapes of 
children. 



SHAKSPEARE. 121 



« " But no more sights." — What a world of horrors is in this little 
familiar phrase ! 



THE QUARREL OF OBERON AND TITANIA. 
A Fairy Drama. 

I have ventured to give the extract this title, because it not 
only contains the whole story of the fairy part of the Midsum- 
mer Night's Dream, but by the omission of a few lines, and the 
transposition of one small passage (for which I beg the reader's 
indulgence), it actually forms a separate little play. It is nearly 
such in the greater play ; and its isolation was easily, and not 
at all injuriously effected, by the separation of the Weaver from 
his brother mechanicals. 

Enter Oberon at one door with his train ; and Titania at another 

with hers. 

Ober. Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania. 

Tit. What ! jealous Oberon ? Fairies, skip hence : 
I have forsworn his bed and company. 

Ober. Tarry, rash wanton ; am not I thy lord ? 

Tit. Then I must be thy lady ; but I know 
When thou haststol'n away from fairy-land, 
And in the shape of Corin sat all day 
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love 
To amorous Phillida. Why art thou here. 
Come from the furthest steep of India, 5 
But that, forsooth, the bouncing Amazon, 
Your buskin'd mistress, and your warrior love, 
To Theseus must be wedded ; and you come 
To give their bed joy and prosperity ? 

Ober. How canst thou thus, for shame, Titania, 
Glance at my credit with Hippolyta, 
Knowing I know thy love to Theseus ? 
Didst thou not lead him through the glimmering night 
From Perigenia, whom he ravished ? 
And make him with fair ^Egle break his faith, 



122 SHAKSPEARE. 



With Ariadne, and Antiope ? 

Tit. These are the forgeries of jealousy : 
And never since the middle summer's spring, 
Met we on hill, in dale, forest, or mead, 
By paved fountain, or by rushing brook, 
Or on the beached margent of the sea, 
To dance our ringlets to the whistling wind, 
But in thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport 
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain, 
As in revenge, have suck'd up from the sea 
Contagious fogs ; which falling on the land, 
Have every pelting river made so proud, 
That they have overborne their continents; 
The ox hath therefore stretch'd his yoke in vain, 
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn 
Hath rotted, ere his youth attain' d a beard: 
The fold stands empty in the drowned field, 
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock ; 
The nine men's morris* is fill'd up with mud ; 
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green, 
For lack of tread, are undistinguishable ; 
The human mortals want their winter here ; 
No night is now with hymn or carol blest : 
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, 
Pale in her anger, washes all the air, 
That rheumatic diseases do abound : 
And thorough thisdistemperature, we see 
The seasons alter : hoary-headed frosts 
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose ; 
And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown, 
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds 
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer, 
The chilling autumn, angry winter, change 
Their wonted liveries ; and the mazed world, 
By their increase, now knows not which is which : 
And this same progeny of evils comes 
From our debate, from our dissension : 
We are their parents and original. 

Ober. Do you amend it then : it lies in you : 
Why should Titian cross her Oberon ? 
I do but beg a little changeling boy, 
To be my henchman, f 

* Mine men's morris. — A rustic game, played with stones upon lines cut 
in the ground. 
\ Henchman — Page. 



SHAKSPEARE. 123 



Tit. Set your heart at rest ; 

The fairy land buys not the child of me. 
His mother was a vot'ress of my order ; 
And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, 
Full often hath she gossip'd by my side ; 
And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, 
Marking the embarking traders on the flood ; 
When we have laughed to see the sails conceive 
And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind : 
Which she with pretty and with swimming gait 
(Following her womb, then rich with my young squire) 
Would imitate ; and sail upon the land, 
To fetch me trifles and return again, 
As from a voyage, rich with merchandize. 
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die ; 
And, for her sake, I do rear up her boy : 
And, for her sake, I will not part with him. 

Ober. How long within this wood intend you stay ? 

Tit. Perchance till after Theseus' wedding-day. 
If you will patiently dance in our round, 
And see our moonlight revels, go with us ; 
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts. 

Ober. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee. 

Tit. Not for thy fairy kingdom. — Fairies, away : 
We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay. 

[Exeunt Titania and her train. 

Ober. Well, go thy way : thou shalt not from this grove, 
Till I torment thee for this injury. — 
My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou remember'st 
Since once I sat upon a promontory, 
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back, 
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath, 
That the rude sea grew civil at her song ; 
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, 
To hear the sea-maid's music. 

Puck. I remember, 

Ober. That very night I saw (but thou couldst not), 
Flying between the cold moon and the earth, 
Cupid all arm'd: a certain aim he took 
At a fair vestal, throned by the west;* 
And loos'd his love-shaft smartly from his bow, 

* At a fair vestal, throned by the west. — An allusion to Queen Eliza- 
beth. See in the Rev. Mr. Halpin's remarks on this passage, published by 
the Shakspeare Society, a most ingenious speculation on the hidden mean- 
ing of it, as a bit of secret court history. 



£24 SHAKSPEARE. 



As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts : 

But I might seen young Cupid's fiery shaft 

Quench'd in the chaste beams of the ivafry moon : 

And the imperial votaress pass' d on, 

In maiden meditation, fancy free. 

Vet mark'd I where the bolt of Cupid fell ; 

It fell upon a little western flower, — 

Before milk-white ; now purple with love's wound, 

And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.* 

Fetch me that flower : the herb I showed thee once : 

The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid, 

Will make or man or woman madly dote 

Upon the next live creature that it sees. 

Fetch me this herb : and be thou here again, 

Ere the leviathan can swim a league. 

Puck. F 11 put a girdle round about the earth, 
In forty minutes. 

[Exit Puck. 

Ober. Having once this juice, 

Pll watch Titania when she is asleep, 
And drop the liquor of it in her eyes: 
The next thing then she waking looks upon 
(Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull, 
Or meddling monkey, or on busy ape), 
She shall pursue it with the soul of love, 
And ere I take this charm off from her sight 
(As I can take it with another herb), 
Pll make her render up her page to me. 

[Exit Oberon 

Another part of the Wood. 

Enter Titania and her train. 

Tit. Come, now a roundel, and a fairy song; 
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence ; 
Some, to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds ; 
Some, war with rear mice for their leathern wings, 
To make my small elves' coats ; and some keep back 
The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots, and wonders 
At our quaint spirits: Sing me now asleep ; 
Then to your offices, and let me rest. 

* Love-in-idleness. — The heart's-ease 



SHAKSPEARE. 125 



SONG 

1st Fai. You spotted snakes with double tongue, 
Thorny hedge-hogs, be not seen. 
Newts and blind worms, do no wrong ; 
Come not near our fairy queen. 
Chorus. Philomel with melody 

Sing in our sweet lullaby, 
Lulla, lulla, lullaby : lulla, lulla, lullaby ; 
Never harm, nor spell, nor charm, 
Come our lovely lady nigh ; 
So, good night — with lullaby. 
2d Fai. Weaving spiders, come not here ; 

Hence you long-legged spinners, hence : 
Beetles black, approach not near; 
Worm nor snail, do no offence. 
Chorus. Philomel with melody, &c. 
1st Fai. Hence, away ; now all is well : 
One, aloof, stand sentinel. 

[Exeunt Fairies. Titania sleeps. 

Enter Oberon. 

Ober. — What thou seest when thou dost awake 

[Squeezes the flower on Titania's eyelids. 
Do it for thy true love take ; 
Love and languish for his sake : 
Be it ounce, or cat, or bear, 
Pard, or boar with bristled hair, 
In thy eye that shall appear 
When thou wak'st, it is thy dear ; 
Wake, when some vile thing is near. 

[Exit. 

Enter Bottom, singing ; Puck having clapt on him an ass's head 

Song. 

Bot. The ousel-cock, so black of hue, 
With orange-tawny bill, 
The throstle with his note so true, 
The wren with little quill — 
Tit. What angel wakes me from my flowery bed ? 

[ Wakes. 
I pray thee, gentle mortal, sing again ; 
Mine ear is much enaw'' f thy note; 



126 SHAKSPEARE. 



So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape ; 

And thy fair virtue's force perforce doth move me, 

On the first view, to say, to swear, I love thee. 
Bot. Methinks, mistress, you should have little reason for that, and yet to 
say the truth, reason and love keep little company together now-a-days. 
The more the pity that some honest neighbors will not make them friends. 
Nay, I can gleek* upon occasion. 

Tit. Thou art as wise as thou art beautiful. 

Bot. Not so neither ; but if I had wit enough to get out of this wood, I 
have enough to serve mine own turn. 

Tit. Out of this wood do not desire to go : 

Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. 

I am a spirit of no common rate ; 

The summer still doth tend upon my state, 

And I do love thee ; therefore go with me ; 

I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee ; 

And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep, 

And sing, while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep : 

And I will purge thy mortal grossness so, 

That thou shalt like an airy spirit go, 

Peas-blossom ! Cobweb ! Moth ! and Mustard-seed ! 

Enter four Fairies. 

1st Fai. Ready. 

2nd Fai. And I. 

3rd Fai. And I. 

4th Fai. Where shall we go ? 

Tit. Be kind and courteous to this gentleman ; 
Hop in his walks, and gambol in his eyes ; 
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries , 
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries : 
The honey-bags steal from the humble-bees, 
And for night tapers crop their waxen thighs, 
And light them at the fiery glow-worm's eyes, 
To have my love to bed, and to arise : 
And pluck the wings from painted butterflies, 
To fan the moon-beams from his sleeping eyes ; 
JVod to htm, elves, and do him courtesies. 

1st Fai. Hail, mortal ! 

2nd Fai. Hail ! 

3rd Fai. Hail ! 

4th Fai. Hail! 

Bot. I cry your worship's mercy, heartily. I beseech your worship's 
name. 

* Gleek. — Banter. 






SHAKSPEARE. 127 



Cob. Cobweb. 

Bot. I shall desire you of more acquaintance, good Master Cobweb. Jf I 
cut my finger, I shall make bold with you. Your name, honest gentle 
man ? 

Peas. Peas-blossom. 

Bot. I pray you commend me to Mistress Squash, your mother, and to 
Master Peascod, your father. Good Master Peas-Blossom, I shall desire you 
of more acquaintance toe Your name, I beseech you, sir? 

Mus. Mustard-seed. 

Bot. Good Master Mustard-seed, I know your patience welL That same 
cowardly, giant-like ox-beef hath devoured many gentlemen of your 
house. I promise you your kindred hath made my eyes water ere now. I 
desire you more acquaintance, good Master Mustard-seed. 

Oberon enters unseen. 

Tit. Come, sit thee down upon this flowery bed, 
While I thy amiable cheeks do coy 
And stick musk-roses in thy sleek smooth head, 
And kiss thy fair large ears, my gentle joy. 
Bot. Where's Peas-blossom ? 
Peas. Ready. 

Bot. Scratch my head, Peas-blossom. Where's Monsieur Cobweb ? 
Cob. Ready. 
Bot. Monsieur Cobweb, good monsieur, get up your weapons in your 
hands, and kill me a red-hipped humble bee on the top of a thistle ; and, 
good monsieur, bring me the honey-bag. Do not fret yourself too much 
with the action, monsieur ; and, good monsieur, have a care the honey-bag 
break not; I would be loth to have you overflown with a honey-bag, 
signior. — Where's Monsieur Mustard-seed ? 
Must. Ready. 

Bot. Give me your neif,* Monsieur Mustard-seed. Pray you, leave your 
courtesy, good monsieur. 
Must. What's your will ? 

Bot. Nothing, good monsieur, but to help Cavaliero Cobweb to scratch. 
I must to the barber's, monsieur ; for methinks I am marvellous hairy 
about the face ; and I am such a tender ass, if my hair do but tickle me I 
must scratch. 

Tit. What, wilt thou hear some music, my sweet love ? 
Bot. I have a reasonable ear in music : let us have the tongs and the 
bones 

Tit. Or say, sweet love, what thou desirest to eat. 

Bot. Truly a peck of provender. I could munch your good dry oats. 
Methinks I have a great desire to a bottle of hay. Good hay, sweet hay, 
hath no fellow. 



* JVeif.— Fist. 



128 SHAKSPEARE. 



Tit I hare a venturous fairy, that shall seek the squirrel's hoard, and 
fetch thee new nuts. 

Bot. I had rather have a handful or two of dried peas: — but, I pray 
you, let none of your people stir me ; I have an exposition of sleep cotae 
upon me. 

Tit. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms. 
Fairies, begone, and be all ways away. 
So doth the woodbine the sweet honeysuckle 
Gently entwist ;- the female ivy so 
Enrings the barky fingers of the elm. 
0, how I love thee ! How I dote on thee ! 

[ They sleep. 

Oberon advances. Enter Puck. 
Ober. Welcome, good Robin. See'st thou this sweet sight ? 
Her dotage now I do begin to pity : 
For meeting her of late behind the wood, 
Seeking sweet savors for this hateful fool, 
I did upbraid her, and fall out with her : 
For she his hairy temples then had rounded 
With coronet of fresh and fragrant flowers ; 
And that same dew, which sometimes on the buds 
Was wont to swell, like round and orient pearls, 
Stood now within the pretty flowref s eyes, 
Like tears, that did their own disgrace bewail. 
When I had, at my pleasure, taunted her, 
And she, in mild tones, begged my patience, 
I then did ask of her my changeling child ; 
Which straight she gave me, and her fairy sent 
To bear him to my bower in fairy land. 
And now I have the boy, I will undo 
This hateful imperfection of her eyes. 
And, gentle Puck, take this transformed scalp 
From off the head of this Athenian swain; 
That she awaking when the other do, 
May all to Athens back again repair. 
And think no more of this night's accidents, 
But as the fierce vexation of a dream* 
But first, I will release the fairy queen. 

Be as thou wert wont to be ; 

{Touching her eyes with a herb ) 

See, as thou were wont to see ; 

Dian's bud o'er Cupid's flower 

* But as the fierce vexation of a dream. — This fine stray verse come* 
looking in among the rest like a stern face through flowers. 



SHAKSPEARE. \i'i 



Hath such force and blessed power. 
Now, my Titania ; wake you, my sweet queen. 
Tit. My Oberon ! what visions have I seen ! 
Methought I was enamored of an ass. 
Ober. There lies your love. 

Tit. How came these things to pass ? 

0, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now ! 

Ober. Silence awhile. Robin, take off this head. — 
Titania, music call ; and strike more dead 
Than common sleep, of all these five the sense. 
Tit. Music ! ho ! music ! such as charmeth sleep. 
Puck. Now, when thou wak'st, with thine own fool's eyes peep. 
Ober. Sound music ! [still music.] Come, my queen, take hand 
with me, 
And rock the ground whereon these sleepers be. 
Now thou and I are new in amity, 
And will to-morrow midnight, solemnly 
Dance in Duke Theseus' house triumphantly, 
And bless it to all fair posterity : 
There shall the pairs of faithful lovers be 
Wedded, with Theseus, all in jollity. 

Puck. Fairy king, attend and mark ; 

I do hear the morning lark. 
Ober. Then, my queen, in silence sad,* 
Trip we after the night's shade. 
We the globe can compass soon, 
Swifter than the wandering moon. 

Tit. Come, my lord, and in our flight 
Tell me how it came this night, 
That I sleeping here was found 

With these mortals on the ground. [Exeunt. 

[Horns sound within 

5 Come from the farthest steep of India. 

Shakspeare understood the charm of remoteness in poetry, as 
lie did everything else. Oberon has been dancing on the sunny 
steeps looking towards Cathay, where the 

Chinese drive 



Their cany waggons light. 
* Sad. — Grave, serious (not melancholy). 

10 



130 SHAKSPEAKE. 



THE BRIDAL HOUSE BLESSED BY THE FAIRIES. 

Enter Puck. 

Puck. Now the hungry lion roars, 6 

And the wolf behowls the moon, 
While the heavy ploughman snores, 

All with weary task fordone. 
Now the wasted brands do glow, 

Whilst the scritch-owl scritching loud, 
Puts the wretch that lies in wo, 

In remembrance of a shroud. 
Now it is the time of night 

That the graves all gaping wide, 
Every one lets forth his sprite, 

In the churchway paths to glide : 
And we fairies that do run 

By the triple Hecate's team, 
From the presence of the sun, 
Following darkness like a dream, 
Now are frolick ; not a mouse 
Shall disturb this hallow'd house : 
I am sent, with broom before, 
To sweep the dust behind the door. 

Enter Oberon and Titania, with their train. 

Ober. Through this house give glimmering light 
By the dead and drowsy fire : 
Every elf and fairy sprite, 
Hop as light as bird from brier ; 
And this ditty after me 
Sing and dance it trippingly. 

Tita. First rehearse this song by rote : 
To each word a warbling note, 
Hand in hand, with fairy grace, 
Will we sing and bless the place. 

Song and Dance 

Ober. Now, until the break of day, 

Through the house each fairy stray, 



SKAKSPEARE. 131 



To the best bride-bed will we, 

Which by us shall blessed be ; 

And the issue there create 

Ever shall be fortunate. 

So shall all the couples three, 

Ever true in loving be ; 

And the blots of Nature's hand 

Shall not in their issue stand ; 

Never mole, hare-lip or scar 

Nor mark prodigious, such as are 

Despised in nativity, 

Shall upon their children be. 

With this field-dew, consecrate, 

Every fairy take his gait ; 

And each several chamber bless 

Through this palace with sweet peace ; 

E'er shall it in safety rest, 

And the owner of it blest. 
Trip away; 
Make no stay : 

Meet me all by break of day. 

«" J\ r ow the hungry lion roars .-"—Upon the songs of Puck and 
Oberon, Coleridge exclaims, " Very Anacreon in perfectness, 
proportion, and spontaneity ! So far it is Greek ; but then add, 
O ! what wealth, what wild rangings and yet what compression 
and condensation of English fancy ! In truth, there is nothing 
in Anacreon more perfect than these thirty lines, or half so rich 
and imaginative. They form a speckless diamond." — Literary 
Remains, vol. ii., p. 114. 



LOVERS AND MUSIC. 

Lorenzo and Jessica, awaiting the return home of Portia and Ne- 
rissa, discourse of music, and then welcome with it the bride and 
her attendant. 

Lor. The moon shines bright. In such a night as this, 7 
When the siceet wind did gently kiss the trees. 



132 SHAKSPEARE. 



And they did make no noise, — in such a night 
Troilus, methinks, mounted the Trojan walls, 
And sighed his soul towards the Grecian tents, 9 
Where Cressid lay that night. 

Jes. In such a night 

Did Thisbe fearfully o'ertrip the dew ; 
And saw the liorts shadow ere himself, 9 
And ran dismay'd away. 

Lor. In such a night 

Stood Dido with a willow in her hand 10 
Upon the wild sea-banks, and wav'd her love 
To come again to Carthage. 

Jes. In such a night 

Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs 11 
That did renew old ^Eson. 

Lor. In such a night 

Did Jessica steal from the wealthy Jew ; 
And with an unthrift love did run from Venice, 
As far as Belmont. 

Jes. And in such a night 

Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well ; 
Stealing her soul with many rows of faith, 
And ne'er a true one. 

Lor. And in such a night 

Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew, 
Slander her love, and he forgave it her. 

Jes. I would out-night you, did nobody come ; 
But, hark ; I hear the footing of a man. 

Enter Stephano. 

Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night? 

Step. A friend. 

Lor. A friend ! what friend ? your name, I pray you, friend ? 

Step. Stephano is my name ; and I bring word 
My mistress will, before the break of day, 
Be here at Belmont : she doth stray about 
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays 
For happy wedlock hours. 

Lor. Who comes with her ? 

Step. None but a holy hermit and her maid 

Lor. Sweet soul, let 'sin, and there expect their coming. 
And yet no matter ; why should we go in ? 
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you, 
Within the house, your mistress is at hand ; 
And bring your music forth into the air. 

[Exit Stephano. 



SHAKSPEARE. 133 



How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon the bank ! 
Here will we sit, and let the sounds of music 
Creep into our ears ; soft stillness and the night, 
Become the touches of sweet h armony. 
Sit, Jessica: look, how the floor of heaven 
Is thick inlaid with patines* of bright gold ; 
There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st,' 2 
But in her motion like an angel sings, 
 Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubims ; 
Such harmony is in immortal souls ; 
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it. 

Enter Musicians. 

Come, ho ! and wake Diana with a hymn ; 

With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear, 

And draw her home with music. \Music. 

Jes. I am never merry when I hear sweet music. 

Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive : 
For do but note a wild and wanton herd, 
A race of youthful and unhanded colts, 
Fetching mad bounds, — bellowing and neighing loud, 
Which is the hot condition of their blood ; 
If they but hear, perchance, a trumpet sound, 
Or any air of music touch their ears, 
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand — 
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze 
By the sweet power of music. Therefore the poet 
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods, 
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage, 
But music for the time doth change its nature. 
The man that hath 710 music in himself, 
Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, 
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ; 
The motions of his spirit are dull as night, 
And his affections dark as Erebus : 
Let no such man be trusted. — Mark the music. 

* Patines (Patine, Patene, Ital.) have been generally understood to mean 
plates of gold or silver used in the Catholic service. A new and interesting 
commentator, however (the Rev. Mr. Hunter), is of opinion that, the proper 
word is patterns. 



134 SHAKSPEARE. 



Enter Portia and Nerissa, at a distance. 

Por. That light we see is burning in my hall ; 
How far that little candle throws its beams ! 
So shines a good deed in a naughty world. 

JVer. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle 

Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less : 
A substitute shines brightly as a king, 
Until a king be by ; and then his state 
Empties himself, as doth the inland brook 
Into the main of waters. Music ! hark ! 

JVer. It is your music, madam, of the house 

Por. Nothing is good I see without respect; 
Methinks it sounds much sweeter than by day. 

JVer. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam. 

Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark, 
When neither is attended ; and, I think, 
The nightingale, if she should sing by day, 
When every goose is cackling, would be thought 
No better a musician than the wren. 
How many things by season, season'd are, 
To their right praise, and true perfection ! 
Peace, hoa ! the moon sleeps with Endymion, 
And would not be awak'd ! [Music ceases. 

Lor. That is the voice, 

Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia. 

Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckoo, 
By the bad voice. 

Lor. Dear lady, welcome home. 13 

7 " In such a night as this," &c — All the stories here alluded to, — 
Troilus and Cressida, Pyramus and Thisbe, Dido and iEneas, 
Jason and Medea, are in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. It 
is pleasant to see our great poet so full of his predecessor. He 
cannot help, however, inventing particulars not to be found in 
his original. 

8 And sigh'd his soul, &c. 

" The day go'th fast, and after that came eve, 
And yet came not Troilus to Crescid: 
He looketh forth by hedge, by tree, by greve (grove), 
And far his head over the wall he laid." 

Clarke's Chaucer, vol. ii., p. 151. 

» " And saw the lion's shadow." — Thisbe in Chaucer does not see 



SHAKSPEARE. 132 



the shadow before she sees the beast (a fine idea !) ; nor does she 
in Ovid. In both poets it is a lioness seen by moonlight. 

" With bloody mouth, of strangling of a beast." 

Ceede leaena bourn spumantes oblita rictus. 

Metam., lib. iv., v. 97. 

10 "Stood Dido ivith a willow in her hand.'" — The willow, a symbol 
of being forsaken, is not in Chaucer. It looks as if Shakspeare 
had seen it in a picture, where it would be more necessary than 
in a poem. 

» " Medea gathered the enchanted herbs." — Shakspeare has here 
gone from Chaucer to Gower. Warton, in his Observations on 
the Faerie Queene, vol. i., p. 361, edit. 1807, has noticed a 
passage in Gower's story, full of imagination. The poet is 
speaking of Medea going out upon the business noticed by 
Shakspeare. 

Thus it fell upon a night, 

When there was naught but starrie light, 

She was vanish'd right as she list, 

That no wight but herself wist, 

And that was at midnight tide. 

The world was still on every side. 

With open head and foot all bare ; 

Her hair too spread, she 'gan to fare ; 

Upon her clothes girt she was, 

And speecheless, upon the grass, 

She g I ode* forth, as an adder doth. 

12 "There's not the smallest orb." — The "warbler of wood-notes 
wild" has here manifestly joined with Plato and other learned 
spirits to suggest to Milton his own account of the Music of the 
Spheres, which every reader of taste, I think, must agree with 
Mr. Knight in thinking " less perfect in sentiment and har- 
mony." — Pictorial Shakspeare, vol. ii., p. 448. The best thing 
in it is what is observed by Warton : that the listening to the 
spheres is the recreation of the Genius of the Wood (the speaker) 
after his day's duty, " when the world is locked up in sleep and 
silence." 

* Glode, is glided. If Chaucer's contemporary had written often thus, 
his name would have been as famous. 



13G SHAKSPEARE. 



Then listen I 
To the celestial Sirens' harmony, 
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres, 
And sing to those that hold the vital shears, 
And turn the adamantine spindle round, 
On which the fate of gods and men is wound. 
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie 
To lull the daughters of Necessity, 
And keep unsteady Nature in her law, 
And the low world in measur'd motion draw 
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear 
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear. 

Arcades, v. 62. 

The best account I remember to have read of the Music of the 
Spheres is in the History of Music by Hawkins. 

' 3 " Dear lady, welcome home:' 1 — Never was a sweeter or more 
fitting and bridal elegance, than in the whole of this scene, in 
which gladness and seriousness prettily struggle, each alternate- 
ly yielding predominance to the other. The lovers are at once 
in heaven and earth. Thenew bride is "drawn home" with the 
soul of love in the shape of music ; and to keep her giddy spirits 
down, she preached that little womanly sermon upon a good deed 
shining in a "naughty world." The whole play is, in one sense 
of the word, the most picturesque in feeling of all Shakspeare's. 
The sharp and malignant beard of the Jew (himself not unrecon- 
ciled to us by the affections) comes harmlessly against the soft 
cheek of love. 



ANTONY AND THE CLOUDS. 

Ant. Eros, thou yet behold'st me ? 

Eros. Ay, noble lord. 

Ant. Sometime we see a cloud tkafs dragonish : 
A vapor sometime ; like a bear, or lion, 
A tower'd citadel, a pendant rock, 
A forked mountain, or blue promontory 
With trees uponH that nod unto the world, 
And mock our eyes with air ; thou hast seen these signs ; 
They are black Vesper's pageants 

Eros. Ay, my lord. 



SHAKSPEARE. 137 



Ant That which is now a horse, even with a thought 
The rack dislimns ; and makes it indistinct, 
As water is in water. 

Eros. It does, my lord. 

Ant. My good knave, Eros, now thy captain is 
Even such a bodv : — here I am, — Antony — 
Yet cannot hold this shape. 



YOUNG WARRIORS. 

Hotspur. My cousin Vernon ! welcome, by my soul ! 

Sir Richard Vernon. Pray God, my news be worth a welcome, lord 
The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong, 
Is marching hitherwards ; with him, Prince John. 

Hot. No harm : what more ? 

Ver. And further, I have learn'd, — 
The king himself in person is set forth, 
Or hitherwards intended speedily, 
With strong and mighty preparation. 

Hot. He shall be welcome too. Where is his son, 
The nimble-footed mad-cap Prince of Wales, 
And his comrades, that daff'd the world aside, 
And bid it pass ? 

Ver. All furnished, all in arms, 
All plum'd like estridges that wing the wind ; 
Bated like eagles having lately bath'd ; 
Glittering in golden coats, like images ; 
As full of spirit as the month of May 
And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer ; 
Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls, 
I saw young Harry, — with his beaver on, 
His cuises on his thighs, gallantly arm'd, — 
Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury, 
And vaulted with such ease into his seat, 
As if an angel dropp'd down from the clouds, 
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus, 
And witch the world with noble horsemanship. 

Hot. No more, no more ; worse than the sun in March, 
This praise doth nourish agues. Let them come ; 
They come like sacrifices in their trim, 
And to thefire-ey'd maid of smoky war, 



138 SHAKSPEARE 



All hot, and bleeding, will we offer them ; 
The mailed Mars shall on his altar sit, 
Up to the ears in blood. I am on fire, 
To hear this rich reprisal is so nigh, 
And yet not ours : — Come, let me take my horse, 
Who is to bear me, like a thunder-bolt, 
Against the bosom of the Prince of Wales : 
Harry to Harry shall, hot (query not ?) horse to horse, 14 
Meet, and ne'er part, till one drop down a corse. 

14 " Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse." — I cannot help think- 
ing that the word hot in this line ought to be not. " Hot horse to 
horse" is not a very obvious mode of speech, and it is too obvi- 
ous an image. The horses undoubtedly would be hot enough. 
But does not Hotspur mean to say that the usual shock of horses 
will not be sufficient for the extremity of his encounter with the 
Prince of Wales ; their own bodies are to be dashed together, 
and not merely the horses : 

14 Harry to Harry shall, not horse to horse : 

so closely does he intend that their combat shall hug. 



IMOGEN IN BED. 

(from cymbeline.) 

(Jachimo, dared by Imogen's husband to make trial of her fidelity, hides 
in her chamber in order to bring away pretended proofs against it.) 

Imo. (reading in bed.) Who's there ? my woman Helen ? 

Lady. Please you, madam. 

Imo. What hour is it ? 

Lady. Almost midnight, madam. 

Imo. I have read three hours then : mine eyes are weak : 
Fold down the leaf where I have left : — to bed : 
Take not away the taper ; leave it burning : 
And if thou canst awake by four o' the clock, 
I prithee, call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly. 

[Exit Lady. 
To your protection I commend me, Gods ! 
From fairies, and the tempters of the night. 



SHAKSPEARE. 139 



Guard me, I beseech ye ! 

[Sleeps. Jachimo, from the trunk. 
Jack. The crickets sing, and man's o'er-labor'd sense 
Repairs itself by rest : our Tarquin thus 
Did softly press the rushes, ere he waken'd 
The chastity he wounded. — Cytherea, 
How bravely thou com'st thy bed ! fresh lily, 
And whiter than the sheets ! that I might touch ! 
But kiss ; one kiss ! — Rubies unparagon'd, 
How dearly they do 't — ' Tis her breathing that 
Perfumes the chamber thus: — the flame o' the taper 
Bows towards her ; and would under-peep her lids, 
To see the enclosed lights ; now canopied 
Under those windows, white and azure, lac'd 
With blue of heaven's own tint. But my design 
To note the chamber, — I will write all down : 
Such and such pictures : — there the window : such 
The adornment of her bed : — the arras, figures, 
Why, such and such, — and the contents o' the story. 
Ah, but some natural notes about her body 
Above ten thousand meaner movables 
Would testify, to enrich mine inventory. 
O sleep, thou ape of Death, lie dull upon her ! 
And be her sense but as a monument, 
Thus in a chapel lying ! — Come off, come off; 

[ Takes off her bracelet. 
As slippery!, as the Gordian knot was hard ! 
'Tis mine, and this will witness outwardly, 
As strongly as the conscience does within, 
To the madding of her lord. On her left breast, 
Jl mole, cinque-spotted, like the crimson drops 
I' the bottom of a cowslip. Here's a voucher, 
Stronger than ever law could make : this secret 
Will force him think I have pick'd the lock, and ta'en 
The treasure of her honor. No more. To what end ? 
Why should I write this down that's riveted, 
Screw'd, to my memory ? She hath been reading late 
The tale of Tereus ; here the leaf's turn'd down 
Where Philomel gave up : — I have enough : — 
To the trunk again, and shut the spring of it. 
Swift, swift, you dragons of the night, that dawning 
May bare the raven's eye ! I lodge in fear ; 
Though this a heavenly angel, hell is here. 

[Clock strikes. 
One, two, three, — Time, time ! 

[ Goes into the trunk. The scene closes 



i40 BEN JONSON. 



BEN JONSON, 

BORN, 1574, — DIED, 1637. 



«A^A^AAAAAA^< 



If Ben Jonson had not tried to do half what he did, he would 
have had a greater fame. His will and ambition hurt him, as 
they always hurt genius when set in front of it. Lasting repu- 
tation of power is only to be obtained by power itself; and this, 
in poetry, is the result not so much, if at all, of the love of the 
power, as of the power of love, — the love of truth and beauty, — 
great and potent things they, — not the love of self, which is 
generally a very little thing. The " supposed rugged old 
bard," notwithstanding his huffing and arrogance, had elegance, 
feeling, imagination, great fancy ; but by straining to make 
them all greater than they were, bringing in the ancients to 
help him, and aiming to include the lowest farce (perhaps by 
way of outdoing the universality of Shakspeare), he became 
as gross in his pretensions, as drink had made him in person. 
His jealous irritability and assumption tired out the gentlest and 
most generous of his contemporaries — men who otherwise really 
liked him (and he them), — Decker for one ; and he has ended in 
appearing to posterity rather the usurper than the owner of a 
true renown. He made such a fuss with his learning, that he is 
now suspected to have had nothing else. Hazlitt himself can- 
not give him credit for comic genius, so grave and all-in-all does 
his pedantry appear to that critic, — an erroneous judgment, as 
it seems to me, — who cannot help thinking, that what altogether 
made Ben what he was projected his ultra-jovial person rather 
towards comedy than tragedy ; and as a proof of this, his trage- 
dies are all borrowed, but his comedies his own. Twelfth 
Night and other plays of Shakspeare preceded and surpassed 



BEN JONSON. Ul 



him in his boasted "humor;" but his Alchemist, and especially 
his Volpone, seem to me at the head of all severer English 
comedy. Ihe latter is a masterpiece of plot and treatment. 
Ben's fancy, a power tending also rather to the comic than 
tragic, was in far greater measure than his imagination ; and 
their strongest united efforts, as in the Witches' Meeting, and 
the luxurious anticipations of Sir Epicure Mammon, produce a 
smiling as well as a serious admiration. The three happiest of 
all his short effusions (two of which are in this volume) are the 
epitaph on Lady Pembroke, the address to Cynthia (both of 
which are serious indeed, but not tragic), and the Catch of the 
Satyrs, which is unique for its wild and melodious mixture of 
the comic and the poetic. His huge farces, to be sure (such as 
Bartholomew Fair), are execrable. They seem to talk for talk- 
ing's sake, like drunkards. And though his famous verses, 
beginning " Still to be neat, still to be drest," are elegantly 
worded, I never could admire them. There is a coarseness 
implied in their very refinement. 

After all, perhaps it is idle to wish a writer had been other- 
wise than he was, especially if he is an original in his way, and 
worthy of admiration. His faults he may have been unable to 
mend, and they may not have been without their use, even to 
his merits. If Ben had not been Ben, Sir Epicure Mammon 
might not have talked in so high a tone. We should have 
missed, perhaps, something of the excess and altitude of his ex- 
pectations — of his 

Gums of Paradise and eastern air. 

Let it not be omitted, that Milton went to the masques and 
odes of Ben Jonson for some of the elegances even of his digni- 
fied muse. See Warton's edition of his Minor Poems, passim. 
Our extracts shall commence with one of these odes, combining 
classic elegance with a tone of modern feeling, and a music like 
a serenade. 



142 BEN JONSON. 



TO CYNTHIA;— THE MOON. 

Queen of hunters, chaste and fair, 

Now the sun is laid asleep, 
Seated in thy silver chair, 
State in wonted manner keep, 
Hesperus entreats thy light, 
Goddess, excellently bright. 

Earth, let not thy envious shade 

Dare itself to interpose ; 
Cynthia's shining orb was made 
Heav'n to clear, when day did close. 
Bless us then with wished sight, 
Goddess, excellently bright. 

Lay thy bow of pearl apart, 

And thy crystal shining quiver ; 
Give unto the flying hart 

Space to breathe, how short soever ; 
Thou, that mak'st a day of night, 
Goddess, excellently bright. 



THE LOVE-MAKING OF LUXURY. 

Volpone makes love to Celia. 

Volp. See, behold, 

What thou art queen of; not in expectation, 
As I feed others, but possess' d and crown'd. 
See here, a rope of pearl ; and each, more orient 
Than that the brave ^Egyptian queen caroused : 
Dissolve and drink them. See, a carbuncle, 
May put out both the eyes of our St. Mark ; 
A diamond would have bought Lollia Pauliner, 
When she came in like star-light, hid with jewels, 
That were the spoils of provinces ; take these 
And wear and lose them ; yet remains an ear-ring 



BEN JONSON. 143 



To purchase them again, and this whole state. 

A gem but worth a private patrimony, 

Is nothing : we will eat such at a meal. 

The heads of parrots, tongues of nightingales, 

The brains of peacocks, and of estriches, 

Shall be our food : and, could we get the phtenix, 

Though nature lost her kind, she were our dish. 

Cel. Good sir, these things might move a mind aiFected 
With such delights ; but I, whose innocence 
Is all I can think wealthy, or worth th' enjoying, 
And which, once lost, I have naught to lose beyond it, 
Cannot be taken with these sensual baits : 
If you have conscience 

Volp. 'Tis the beggar's virtue : 

If thou had wisdom, hear me, Celia. 
Thy baths shall be the juice of July flowers, 
Spirit of roses and of violets, 
The milk of unicorns, and panthers' breath 
Gather'd in bags, and mixt with Cretan wines. 
Our drink shall be prepared gold and amber ; 
Which we will take until my roof whirl round 
With the vertigo : and my dwarf shall dance, 
My eunuch sing, my fool make up the antic ; 
Whilst we, in changed shape, act Ovid's tales ; 
Thou, like Europa now, and I like Jove ; 
Then I like Mars, and thou like Erycine : 
So, of the rest, till we have quite run through 
And wearied all the fables of the gods. 



TOWERING SENSUALITY. 

Sir Epicure Mammon, expecting to obtain the Philosopher's Stone, 
riots in the anticipation of enjoyment. 

Enter Mammon and Surly. 

Mam. Come on, sir. Now, you set your foot on shore 
In Novo Orbe : here's the rich Peru : 
And there within, sir, are the golden wines, 
Great Solomon's Ophir ! he was sailing to 't 
Three years ; but we have reach'd it in ten months. 
This is the day, wherein to all my friends, 
I will pronounce the happy word, Bje rich. 
Where is my Subtle there ! Within ! 



144 BEN JONSON. 

Enter Face. 

How now ? 
Do we succeed ? Is our day come ? and holds it ? 

Face. The evening will set red upon you, sir ; 
You have color for it, crimson : the red ferment 
Has done his office : three hours hence prepare you 
To see projection. 

Mam. Pertinax, my Surly, 
Again I say to thee, aloud, Be rich. 
This day thou shalt have ingots ; and to-morrow 
Give lords the affront. — Is it, my Zephyrus, right ?— 
Thou'rt sure thou saw'st it blood ? 

Face. Both blood and spirit, sir. 

Mam. I will have all my beds blown up, not stuff'd : 
Down is too hard. — My mists 
I'll have of perfume, vapored 'bout the room 
To lose ourselves in ; and my baths, like pits, 
To fall into : from whence we will come forth, 
And roll us dry in gossamer and roses, 
Is it arriv'd at ruby ? — And my flatterers 
Shall be the pure and gravest of divines. — 
And they shall fan me with ten estrich tails 
A-piece, made in a plume to gather wind. 
We will be brave, Puffe, now we have the med'cine 
My meat shall all come in, in Indian shells, 
Dishes of agate, set in gold, and studded 
With emeralds, sapphires, hyacinths, and rubies, 
The tongues of carps, doumice, and camels' heels, 
Boil'd in the spirit of sol, and dissolv'd pearl, 
Apicius' diet 'gainst the epilepsy : 
And I will eat these broths with spoons of amber, 
Headed with diamond and carbuncle. 
My foot-boy shall eat pheasants, calver'd salmons, 
Knots, godwits, lampreys : I myself will have 
The beards of barbels serv'd, instead of salads ; 
Oil'd mushrooms ; and the swelling, unctuous paps 
Of a fat pregnant sow, newly cut off, 
Drest with an exquisite and poignant sauce, 
For which I'll say unto my cook, " There's gold; 
Go forth, and be a knight." 

Face. Sir, I'll go look 

A little, how it heightens. 

[Exit Face 

Mam. Do. My shirts 

I'll have of taffeta-sarsnet, soft and light 



BEN JONSON. 14l» 



As cobwebs ; and for all my other raiment, 
It shall be such as might provoke the Persian, 
Were he to teach the world riot anew. 
My gloves of fishes and birds' skins, perfum'd 
With gums of Paradise and eastern air. 

Sur. And do you think to have the stone with this ? 

Mam. No ; I do think t' have all this with the stone ! 

Sur Why, I have heard he must be homo frugi, 
A pious, holy, and religious man, 
One free from mortal sin, a very virgin. 

Mam. That makes it, Sir ; he is so ; but I bxjy it. 



THE WITCH. 
From the Pastoral Fragment, entitled " The Sad Shepherd." 

Aiken. Know ye the witch's dell ? 

Scathlock. No more than I do know the walks of hell- 

Alken. Within a gloomy dimble she doth dwell, 
Down in a pit, o'ergrown with brakes and briars. 
Close by the ruins of a shaken abbey, 
Torn with an earthquake down unto the ground, 
'Mongst graves and grots, near an old charnel-house, 
Where you shall find her sitting in her form, 
As fearful and melancholic as that 
She is about; with caterpillars' kelis, 
And knotty cobwebs, rounded in with spells. 
Then she steals forth to relief in the fogs, 
And rotten mists, upon the fens and bogs, 
Down to the drownid lands of Lincolnshire ; 
To make ewes cast their lambs, swine eat their farrow, 
And housewives' tun not work, nor the milk churn ! 
Writhe children's wrists, and suck their breath in sleep, 
Get vials of their blood ! and where the sea 
Casts up his slimy ooze, search for a weed 
To open locks with, and to rivet charms, 
Planted about her in the wicked feat 
Of all her mischiefs ; which are manifold. 

John. I wonder such a story could be told 
Of her dire deeds. 

George. I thought a witch's banks 

Had inclosed nothing but the merry pranks 
Of some old woman. 

11 



146 BEN JONSON 

Scarlet. Yes, her malice more. 

Scath As it would quickly appear had we the store 
Of his collects. 

George. Ay, this good learned man 

Can speak her right. 

Scar. He knows her shifts and haunts 

Aiken. And all her wiles and turns. The venom'd plants 
Wherewith she kills ! where the sad mandrake grows, 
Whose groans are deathful ; and dead-numbing night-shade, 
The stupefying hemlock, adder's tongue, 
And martagan : the-shrieks of luckless owls 
We hear, and croaking night crows in the air! 
Green-bellied snakes, blue fire-drakes in the sky, 
And giddy flitter-mice with leather wings ! 
The scaly beetles, with their habergeons, 
That make a humming murmur as they fly '. 
There in the stocks of trees, white fairies do dwell, 
And span-long elves that dance about a pool, 
With each a little changeling in their arms ! 
The airy spirits play with falling stars, 
And mount the spheres of fire to kiss the moon ! 
While she sits reading by the glow-worm's light, 
Or rotten wood, o'er which the worm hath crept, 
The baneful schedule of her nocent charms. 



A MEETING OF WITCHES 

FOR THE PURPOSE OF DOING A MISCHIEF TO A JOYFUL HOUSE, AND BP.IW;- 
ING AN EVIL SPIRIT INTO BIRTH IN THE MIDST OF IT. 

From the Masque of Queens. 

Charm The owl is abroad, the bat and the toad, 

And so is the cat-a-mountain ; 
The ant and the mole both sit in a hole, 

And the frog peeps out of the fountain 
The dogs they do bay, and the timbrels play 

The spindle is now a turning ; 
The moon it is red, and the stars are fled, 

But all the sky is a-burning. 



BEN JONSON. 147 



1st Hag. I have been all day looking after 
A raven, feeding upon a quarter ; 
And soon as she turn'd her beak to the south, 
I snatch'd this morsel out of her mouth 

'2nd Hag. I have been gathering wolves' hairs, 

The mad dog's foam, and the adder's ears ; 
The spurging of a dead man's eyes, 
And all since the evening star did rise 

3rd Hag. I, last night, lay all alone 

On the ground to hear the mandrake groan ; 
And pluck' d him up, though he grew full low, 
And as had done, the cock did crow. 

4th Hag. And I have been choosing out this skull 
From charnel-houses that were full ; 
From private grots, and public pits ; 
And frightened a sexto?i out of his wits. 

5th Hag. Under a cradle I did creep, 

By day ; and when the child was asleep 
At night, I suck'd the breath ; and rose, 
And pluck'd the nodding nurse by the nose. 

6th Hag. I had a dagger : what did I with that ? 
KilVd an infant to have his fat. 
I scratch'd out the eyes of the owl before, 
I tore the bat's wing ; what would you have more ? 

Dame. Yes, I have brought to help our vows 
Horned poppy, cypress boughs, 
The fig-tree wild that grows on tombs, 
And juice that from the larch-tree comes, 
The basilisk's blood and the viper's skin ; 
And now our orgies let us begin. 

You fiends and fairies, if yet any be 

Worse than ourselves, you that have quak'd to see 

These knots untied (she unties them) — exhale earth's rottenest 

vapors, 
And strike a blindness through these blazing tapers 

Charm. Deep, deep we lay thee to sleep , 

We leave thee drink by, if thou chance to be dry ; 



148 



BEN JONSON. 



Both milk and blood, the dew and the flood; 
We breathe in thy bed, at the foot and the head ; 
And when thou dost wake, Dame Earth shall quake 
Such a birth to make, as is the Blue Brake. 

Dame. Stay ; all our charms do nothing win 
Upon the night ; our labor dies, 
Our magic feature will not rise, 
Nor yet the storm ! We must repeat 
More direful voices far, and beat 
The ground toith vipers, till it sweat. 

Charm. Blacker go in, and blacker come out: 
At thy going down, we give thee a shout; 

Hoo! 
At thy rising again thou shalt have two ; 
And if thou dost what we 'd have thee do, 
Thou shalt have three, thou shalt have four, 

Hoo ! har ! har ! hoo ! 
A cloud of pitch, a spur and a switch, 
To haste him away, and a whirlwind play, 
Before and after, with thunder for laughter 
And storms of joy, of the roaring boy, 
His head of a drake, his tail of a snake. 

(JL loud and beautiful music is heard, and the Witches vanish ) 



A CATCH OF SATYRS. 

Silenus bids his Saty?s awaken a couple of Sylvans, who have fallen 
asleep while they should have kept watch. 



Buz, quoth the blue fly, 

Hum, quoth the bee ; 
Buz and hum they cry, 

And so do we. 
In his ear, in his nose, 

Thus, do you see ? 
He ate the dormouse ; 

Else it was he. 



BEN JONSON. 149 



" It is impossible that anything could better express than this, 
either the wild and practical joking of the satyrs, or the action 
of the thing described, or the quaintness and fitness of the images, 
or the melody and even the harmony, the intercourse, of the mu- 
sical words, one with another. None but a boon companion 
with a very musical ear could have written it. It was not for 
nothing that Ben lived in the time of the fine old English compos- 
ers, Bull and Ford, or partook his canary with his " lov'd Alphon- 
so," as he calls him, the Signor Ferrabosco. — A Jar of Honey 
from Mount Hybla, in Ainswortlvs Magazine, No. xxx., p. 86. 



150 BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER, 

BEAUMONT, BORN 1586 DIED 1615. 

FLETCHER, " 1576— " 1625. 



Poetry of the higheft order and of the loveliest character 
abounds in Beaumont and Fletcher, but so mixed up with incon- 
sistent, and too often, alas! revolting matter, that, apart from 
passages which do not enter into the plan of this book, I had no 
alternative but either to confine the extracts to the small number 
which ensue, or to bring together a heap of the smallest quota- 
tions, — two or three lines at a time. I thought to have got a 
good deal more out of the Faithful Shepherdess, which I had not 
read for many years ; but on renewing my acquaintance with 
it, I found that the same unaccountable fascination with the evil 
times which had spoilt these two fine poets in their other plays, 
had followed its author, beyond what I had supposed, even into 
the regions of Arcadia. 

Mr. Hazlitt, who loved sometimes to relieve his mistrust by a 
fit of pastoral worship, pronounces the Faithful Shepherdess to 
be " a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, where no crude surfeit 
reigns." I wish I could think so. There are both hot and cold 
dishes in it, which I would quit at any time to go and dine with 
the honest lovers of Allan Ramsay, whose Gentle Shepherd, 
though of another and far inferior class of poetry, I take upon 
the whole to be the completest pastoral drama that ever was 
written. 

It is a pity that Beaumont and Fletcher had not been born 
earlier, and in the neighborhood of Shakspeare, and become his 
playmates. The wholesome company of the juvenile yeoman 
(like a greater Sandford) might have rectified the refined spirits 



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER 151 

of the young gentlemen, and saved their Hippocrene from he- 
coming ditch-water. Even as it is, they seem different men 
when writing in their own persons, and following the taste of the 
town. Compare, for example, Beaumont's exquisite verses on 
Melancholy (here printed) with any one of their plays ; or 
Fletcher's lines entitled An Honest Man's Fortune with the play 
of the same name, to which it is appended. The difference is 
so great, and indeed is discernible to such an equal degree in 
the poetry which startles you in the plays themselves (as if two 
different souls were writing one passage), that it appears unac- 
countable, except on some principle anterior to their town life, 
and to education itself. Little is known of either of their fami- 
lies, except that there were numerous poets in both ; but 
Fletcher's father was that Dean of Peterborough (afterwards 
Bishop of London) who behaved with such unfeeling imperti- 
nence to the Queen of Scots in her last moments, and who is 
said (as became such a man) to have died of chagrin, because 
Elizabeth was angry at his marrying a second time. Was 
poetry such a " drug " with " both their houses " that the friends 
lost their respect for it ? or was Fletcher's mother some angel of 
a woman — some sequestered Miranda of the day — with whose 
spirit the " earth " of the Dean her husband but ill accorded ? 

Every devout lover of poetry must have experienced the wish 
of Coleridge, that Beaumont and Fletcher had written "poems 
instead of tragedies." Imagine as voluminous a set of the one 
as they have given us of the other ! It would have been to 
sequestered real life what Spenser was to the land of Faery, — a 
retreat beyond all groves and gardens, a region of medicinal 
sweets of thought and feeling. Nor would plenty of fable have 
been wanting. What a loss ! And this, — their birthright with 
posterity — these extraordinary men sold for the mess of the 
loathsome pottage of the praise and profligacy of the court of 
James I. 

But let us blush to find fault with them, even for such a de- 
scent from their height, while listening to their diviner moods. 



152 BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 



MELANCHOLY. 

BY BEAUMONT. 

Hence, all you vain delights, 
As short as are the nights 

Wherein you spend your folly; 
There's naught in this life sweet, 
Were men but wise to see 't, 

But only Melancholy ; 
O sweetest Melancholy ! 

Welcome, folded arms and fixed eyes; 
A sigh, that piercing;, mortifies ; 
A look that's fasten' d to the ground ; 
A tongue chain'd up without a sound. 

Fountain heads and path/ess groves, 
Places vphich pale passion loves ; l 
Moonlight walks, when all the fowls 
Are warmly hous'd save bats and owls ; 
A midnight bell, a parting groan, 
These are the sounds we feed upon : 
Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley ; 
Nothing so dainty stvect as lovely Melancholy.- 

2" Loiely Melancholy."— Tradition has given these verses to 
Beaumont, though they appeared for the first time in a play of 
Fletcher's after the death of his friend. In all probability 
Beaumont had partly sketched the play, and left the verses to 
be inserted. 

I cannot help thinking that a couplet has been lost after the 
words " bats and owls." It is true the four verses ending; 
with those words might be made to belong to the preceding 
four, as among the things " welcomed j" but the junction would 
be forced, and the modulation injured. They may remain, too, 
where they are, as combining to suggest the " sounds" which the 
melancholy man feeds upon ; " fountain-heads" being audible, 
"groves" whispering, and the "moonlight walks" being attend. 
ed by the hooting "owl." They also modulate beautifully in 



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 153 

this case. Yet these intimations themselves appear a little forc- 
ed ; whereas, supposing a couplet to be supplied, there would 
be a distinct reference to melancholy sights, as well as sounds. 

The conclusion is divine. Indeed the whole poem, as Hazlitt 
says, is "the perfection of this kind of writing." Orpheus 
might have hung it, like a pearl, in the ear of Proserpina. It 
has naturally been thought to have suggested the Penseroso to 
Milton, and is more than worthy to have done so ; for fine as 
that is, it is still finer. It is the concentration of a hundred 
melancholies. Sir Walter Scott, in one of his biographical 
works, hardly wiih the accustomed gallantry and good-nature 
of the great novelist, contrasted it with the " melo-dramatic" ab- 
stractions of Mrs. RadclyfFe (then living). He might surely, 
with more justice, have opposed it to the diffuseness and con- 
ventional phraseology of" novels in verse." 

i " Places which pale passion loves." — Beaumont, while writing 
this verse, perhaps the finest in the poem, probably had in his 
memory that of Marlowe, in his description of Tamburlaine. 

Pale of complexion, wrought in him with passion. 



A SATYR PRESENTS A BASKET OF FRUIT TO THE 
FAITHFUL SHEPHERDESS. 

BT FLETCHER. 

Here be grapes whose lusty blood 

Is the learned poet's good ; 

Sweeter yet did never crown 

The head of Bacchus ; nuts more brown 

Than the squirrel's teeth that crack them ; 

Deign, oh, fairest fair ! to take them. 

For these black-eyed Dryope 

Hath oftentimes commanded me 

With my clasped knee to climb : 

See how well the lusty time 

Hath dec/e'd their rising cheeks in red, 

Such as on your lips is spread. 



154 BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER 

Here be berries for a queen, 

Some be red — some be green , -3 

These are of that luscious meat 

The great god Pan himself doth eat ; 

All these, and what the woods can yield, 

The hanging mountain or the field, 

I freely offer; and ere long 

Will bring you more, more sweet and strong ; 

Till when, humbly leave I take, 

Least the great Pan do awake 

That sleeping lies in a deep glade, 

Under a broad beech's shade : 4 

I must go, I must run, 

Swifter than the fiery sun 

3 " Some be red, some be green." — This verse calls to mind a beau- 
tiful one of Chaucer, in his description of a grove in spring : — 

In which were oakes great, straight as a line, 
Under the which the grass, so fresh of hue, 
Was newly sprung, and an eight foot or nine, 
Ev-e-ry tree well from his fellow grew, 
With branches broad, laden with leaves new, 
That sprangen out against the sunny sheen, 
Some very red, and some a glad light green. 

The Flower and the Leaf. 

Coleridge was fond of repeating it. 

* " That sleeping lies," &c— Pan was not to be waked too soon 
with impunity. 

Ot> dc/iis, o) -Koijiav, to peaapffpivov, ov 9epi; ayptv 
±vpioSeV tov Tiava JcSoiKapes >i yap an aypn 
LaviK i KCKpaicws aprravcraf tvri 6e m/cpos 
Kai hi a "i Spipcia ^oXo ttoti ptm /ca0»jrai. 

Theocritus, Idyll i., v. 15. 

No, shepherd, no ; we must not pipe at noon : 
We must fear Pan, who sleeps after the chase, 
Ready to start in snappish bitterness 
With quivering nostril. 

What a true picture of the half-goat divinity ! 



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 155 



A SPOT FOR LOVE TALES. 

Here be all new delights, cool streams and wells ; 
Arbors o'ergrown with woodbines; caves and dells ; 
Choose where thou wilt, whilst I sit by and sing, 
Or gather rushes, to make man}' a ring 
For thy long fingers ; tell thee tales of love ; 
Hflw the pale Phoebe, hunting in a grove, 
FWt saw the boy Endymion, from whose eyes 
She took eternal fire that never dies ; 
How she conveyed him softly in a sleep, 
His temples bound ivith poppy, to the steep 
Head of old Latmus, where she stoops each night, 
Gilding the mountain with her brother's light, 
To kiss her sweetest. 



MORNING. 

See, the day begins to bi'eak, 
And the light shoots like a streak 
Of subtle fire. The wind blows cold 
Wliile the morning doth unfold. 

I have departed from my plan for once, to introduce this very 
small extract, partly for the sake of its beauty, partly to show 
the student that great poets do not confine their pleasant descrip- 
tions to images or feelings pleasing in the commoner sense of the 
word, but include such as, while seeming to contradict, harmo- 
nize with them, upon principles of truth, and of a genial and 
strenuous sympathy. The " subtle streak of fire" is obviously 
beautiful, but the addition of the cold wind is a truth welcome to 
those only who have strength as well as delicacy of apprehen- 
sion, — or rather, that healthy delicacy which arises from the 
strength. Sweet and wholesome, and to be welcomed, is the 
chill breath of morning. There is a fine epithet for this kind of 
dawn in the elder Marston's Antonio and Melida : — 



156 BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 

Is not yon gleam the shuddering morn, that flakes 
With silver tincture the east verge of heaven ? 



THE POWER OF LOVE. 

Hear, ye ladies that despise 

What the mighty Love has done ; 
Fear examples and be wise : 

Fair Calisto was a nun ; 
Leda, sailing on the stream ^ 

To deceive the hopes of man, 
Love accounting but a dream 

Doted on a silver swan ; 
Danae, in a brazen tower, 
Where no love was, loved a shower.** 

Hear, ye ladies that are coy, 

What the mighty Love can do, 
Fear the fierceness of the boy : 

The chaste moon he makes to woo ; 
Vesta, kindling holy fires, 

Circled round about with spies, 
Never dreaming loose desires, 

Doting at the altar dies ; 
Hion in a short hour, higher 
He can build, and once more fire. 

* " Where no love was." — See how extremes meet, and pas 
sion writes as conceit does, in these repetitions of a word : — 

Where no love was, lov'd a shower. 

So, still more emphatically, in the instance afterwards : — 

Fear the fierceness of the boy — 

than which nothing can be finer. Wonder and earnestness con- 
spire to stamp the iteration of the sound. 



BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 157 



INVOCATION TO SLEEP. 

Sung to Music : the Emperor Valentinian sitting by, sick, in a 

chair. 

Care-charming Sleep, thou easer of all woes, — 
Brother to Death, sweetly thyself dispose 
On this afflicted prince : fall like a cloud 
In gentle showers ; give nothing that is loud 
Or painful to his slumbers ; — easy, sweet, 6 
Aifd as a purling stream, thou son of night, 
Pass by his troubled senses : — sing his pain, 
Like hollow murmuring wind, or silver rain : 
Into this prince gently, oh, gently slide, 
And kiss him into slumbers like a bride ! 

e " Easy, sweet.'" — In rhymes like night and sweet, the fine ears 
of our ancestors discerned a harmony to which we have been 
unaccustomed. They perceived the double e, which is in the 
vowel i, — night nah-eet. There is an instance in a passage in 
the Midsummer Night's Dream, extracted at page 126, where 
the word bees, as well as mulberries, and dewberries, is made to 
rhyme with eyes, arise, &c. Indeed, in such words as mulber- 
ries the practice is still retained, and e and i considered corres- 
ponding sounds in the fainter terminations of polysyllables : — 
free, company — -fiy, company. 

Was ever the last line of this invocation surpassed ? But it 
is all in the finest tone of mingled softness and earnestness. 
The verses are probably Fletcher's. He has repeated a pas- 
sage of it in his poem entitled An Honest Man's Fortune. 

Oh, man ! thou image of thy Maker's good, 
What canst thou fear, when breath'd into thy blood 
His Spirit ; s that built thee ? What dull sense 
Makes thee suspect, in need, that Providence 
Who made the morning, and who plac'd the light 
Guide to thy labors ; who call'd up the night, 
And bid her fall upon thee like sweet showers 
In hollow murmurs to lock up thy powers ! 

O si sic omnia ! 



158 MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 



MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER, 



When about to speak of these and other extraordinary men of 
the days of Shakspeare, the Marstons, Rowleys, Massingers, 
Draytons, &c, including those noticed already, I wasted a 
good deal of time in trying to find out how it was that, possess- 
ing, as most of them did, such a pure vein of poetry, and some- 
times saying as fine things as himself, they wrote so much that 
is not worth reading, sometimes not fit to be read. I might have 
considered that, either from self-love, or necessity, or both, too 
much writing is the fault of all ages and of every author. 
Even Homer, says Horace, sometimes nods. How many odes 
might not Horace himself have spared us ! How many of his 
latter books, Virgil ! What theology, Dante and Milton ! What 
romances, Cervantes ! What Comedies, Ariosto ! What trage- 
dies, Dryden ! What heaps of words, Chaucer and Spenser ! 
What Iliads, Pope ! 

Shakspeare's contemporaries, however, appear to have been a 
singularly careless race of men, compared with himself. Could 
they have been rendered so by that very superiority of birth and 
education which threw them upon the town, in the first instance, 
with greater confidence, his humbler prospects rendering hin 
more cautious ? Or did their excess of wit and fancy require 
a counter- perfection of judgment, such as he only possessed ? 
Chapman and Drayton, though their pens were among the pro- 
fusest and most unequal, seem to have been prudent men in 
conduct ; so in all probability were Ford and Webster ; but 
none of these had the animal spirits of the others. Shak- 
speare had animal spirits, wit, fancy, judgment, prudence in 
money matters, understanding like Bacon, feeling like Chaucer, 
mirth like Rabelais, dignity like Milton ! What a man ! Has 
anybody discovered the reason why he never noticed a living 



MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 159 

contemporary, and but one who was dead ? and this too in an 
age of great men, and when they were in the habit of acknow 
ledging the pretensions of one another. It could not have been 
jealousy, or formality, or inability to perceive merits which his 
own included ; and one can almost as little believe it possible 
to have been owing to a fear of disconcerting his aristocratic 
friends, for they too were among the eulogizers : neither can it 
be attributed to his having so mooted all points, as to end in 
caring for none ; for in so great and wise a nature, good nature 
must surely survive everything, both as a pleasure and a duty. 
I have made up my mind to think that his theatrical manager- 
ship was the cause. It naturally produced a dislike of pro- 
nouncing judgments and incurring responsibilities. And yet 
he was not always a manager ; nor were all his literary friends 
playwrights. I think it probable, from the style, that he wrote 
the sonnet in which Spenser is eulogized : — 

If music and sweet poetry agree, &c. 

but this is doubtful ; and Spenser was not one of his dramatic 
fellows. Did he see too many faults in them all to praise 
them ! ! Certainly the one great difference between him and 
them, next to superiority of genius, is the prevailing relevancy 
of all he wrote ; its freedom, however superabundant, from in- 
consistency and caprice. But could he find nothing to praise 1 
Nothing in the whole contemporary drama ? Nothing in all 
the effusions of his friends and brother clubbists of the Mermaid 
and the Triple Tun 1 

I take Webster and Decker to have been the two greatest of 
the Shakspeare men, for unstudied genius, next after Beaumont 
and Fletcher ; and in some respects they surpassed them. 
Beaumont and Fletcher have no such terror as Webster, nor 
any such piece of hearty, good, affecting human clay, as 
Decker's "Old Signior Orlando Friscobaldo." Is there any 
such man even in Shakspeare ? — any such exaltation of that 
most delightful of all things, bonhomie ? Webster sometimes 
overdoes his terror ; nay often. lie not only riots, he debauches 
in it ; and Decker, full of heart and delicacy as he is, and 



t: |j 

liiied 



qualifier to teach refinement to the refined, condescends to an 



60 MIDDLETOxN, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 

astounding coarseness. Beaumont and Fletcher's good company 
saved them from that, in words. In spirit they are full of it. 
But Decker never mixes up (at least not as far as I can remem- 
ber) any such revolting and impossible contradictions in the 
same character as they do. Neither does he bring a doubt on 
his virtue by exaggerating them. He believes heartily in what 
he does believe, and you love him in consequence. It was he 
that wrote that character, the piety of which has been pro- 
nounced equal to its boldness : — 

The best of men 
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer ; 
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit; 
The first true gentleman that ever breath'd. 

His universal sympathy enabled him to strike out that audacious 
and happy simile, " untameable as pes" which Homer would 
have admired, though it is "fit to make poetasters shudder. The 
poetaster, had Decker offered to make him a present of it, would 
have been afraid of being taken for a fly himself. Images are 
either grand in themselves, or for the thought and feeling that 
accompany them. This has all the greatness of Nature's 
" equal eye." You may see how truly Decker felt it to be of 
this kind, by the company in which he has placed it ; and there 
is a consummation of propriety in its wildness, for he is speaking 
of lunatics : — 

There are of madmen, as there are of tame, 

All humor'd not alike. We have here some 

So apish and fantastic, will play with a feather; 

And though 'twould grieve a soul to see God's image 

So blemish'd and defaced, yet do they act 

Such antic and such pretty lunacies, 

That, spite of sorrow, they will make you smile. 

Others again we have like hungry lions, 

Fierce as wild bulls, untameable as flies. 

Middleton partakes of the poetry and sweetness of Decker, 
but not to the same height ; and he talks more at random. You 
hardly know what to make of the dialogue or stories of some of 
Hs plays. But he has more fancy ; and there is one characte 



M1DDLET0N, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 161 

of his (De Flores in the " Changeling") which, for effect at once 
tragical, probable, and poetical, surpasses anything I know of 
in the drama of domestic life. Middleton has the honor of 
having furnished part of the witch poetry to Macbeth, and of 
being conjoined with it also in the powerful and beautiful music 
of Locke. 

From Massinger, Ford, and the others (as far as I have met 
with them, and apart from the connexion of Massinger's name 
with Decker), I could find nothing to extract of a nature to suit 
this particular volume, and of equal height with its contents. 
It is proper to state, however, that I have only glanced through 
their works : for though no easily daunted reader, I never read 
an entire play either of Ford or Massinger. They repel me 
with the conventional tendencies of their style, and their unnatu- 
ral plots and characters. Ford, however, is elegant and 
thoughtful ; and Massinger has passion, though (as far as I 
know) not in a generous shape. With these two writers began 
that prosaical part of the corruption of dramatic style (merging 
passionate language into conventional) which came to its head 
in Shirley. 

Donusa. What magic hath transform' d me from myself? 
Where is my virgin pride 1 how have I lost 
My boasted freedom .' what new fire burns up 
My scorch'd entrails ! ! what unknown desires 
Invade, and take possession of my soul ? 

Maasinger's Renegado. 

Hialas. To this union 

The good of both the Church and Commonwealth 
Invite you. 

Durham. To this unity, a mystery 
Of providence points out a greater blessing 
For both these nations, than our human wisdom 
Can search into. King Henry hath a daughter, 
The Princess Margaret. I need not urge, &c. 

Ford's Perkin Warheck. 

Both tnese passages are the first I came to, on dipping into 
their works. One might fancy one's self reading Cato or the 
Grecian Daughter, instead of men who had breathed the air of 
the days of Shakspeare. 

12 



162 MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 

Massinger was joint author with Decker, of the play from 
which the scene of the lady and the angel is taken ; but nobody 
who knows the style of the two men can doubt for a moment to 
which it belongs. I have, therefore, without hesitation assigned 
it according to the opinion expressed by Mr. Lamb. 



FLIGHT OF WITCHES. 

Scene, a Field. Enter Hecate, Stadlin, Hoppo, and other Witches. 
Firestone in the background. 

Hec. The moon's a gallant ; see how brisk she rides ! 

Stad. Here 's a rich evening, Hecate. 

Hec. Ay, is 't not, wenches, 

To take a journey of five thousand miles ? 

Hop. 't will be precious ! 

Heard you the owl yet ? 

Stad. Briefly in the copse, 

As we came through now. 

Hec. 'T is high time for us then 

Stad. There was a bat hung at my lips three times, 
As we came through the woods, and drank her fill : 
Old Puckle saw her. 

Hec. You are fortunate stiii ; 

The very screech-owl lights upon your shoulder, 
And woos you like a pigeon. Are you furnished ? 
Have you your ointments ? 

Stad.. All. 

Hec. Prepare to flight then ; 

I'll overtake you swiftly. 

Stad. Hie thee, Hecate ; 

We shall be up betimes. 

Hec. I'll reach you quickly. 

[Exeunt all the Witches except Hecate. 

Fire. They are all going a birding to-night : they talk of fowls i' th' air 
that fly by day ; I am sure they '11 be a company of foul sluts there to-night : 
if we have not mortality after 't, I '11 be hanged, for they are able to putrefy 
it, to infect a whole region She spies me now. 

Hec. What, Firestone, our sweet son ? 

Fire A little sweeter than some of you, or a dunghill were too good for 
me. [Aside. 

Hec How much hast here ? 



MTDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER 163 

Fire. Nineteen, and all brave plump ones, besides 

six lizards and three serpentine eggs. 

Hec. Dear and sweet boy ! what herbs hast thou ? 

Fire. I have some marmartin and mandragon. 

Hec. Marmaritin and mandragora, thou wouldst say. 

Fire. Here's panax too— I thank thee — my pan aches I'm sure, with 
kneeling down to cut 'em. 

Hec. And selago, 

Hedge-hysop too ; how near he goes my cuttings ! 
Were they all cropt by moonlight ? 

Fire. Every blade of 'em, 

Or I'm a moon-calf, mother. 

Hec. Hie thee home with 'em : 

Look well to the house to-night ; I'm for aloft. 

Fire. Aloft, quoth you ? I would you would break your neck once, that 
J might have all quickly ! [Aside.]— Hark, hark, mother ! they are above 
the steeple already, flying over your head with a noise of musicians. 

Hec. They 're they indeed. Help, help me ; I'm too late else. 

SONG ABOVE. 

Come away, come away, 
Hecate, Hecate, come away. 
Hec. I come, I come, I come, I come, 
With all the speed I may. 
Where's Stadlin ? 
[Voice above.] Here. 

Hec. Where's Puckle ? 
[Voice above.] Here. 

And Hoppo too, and Hellwain too ; 
We lack but you, we lack but you ; 
Come away, make up the count. 
Hec. I will but 'noint and then I mount. 

[A spirit like a cat descends 
[Voict above.] There's one comes down to fetch his dues, 
A kiss, a coll, a sip of blood ; 
And why thou stay'st so Ions, I muse, 
Since the air 's so sweet and good ? 
Hec. O, art thou come ? what news, what news ? 
Spirit. All goes still to our delight, 

Either come, or else refuse. 
Hec Now I'm furnished for the flight. 
Fire. Hark, hark, the cat rings a brave treble in her own language ! 
[Hec. going up.] Now I go, now I fly, 

Malkin my sweet spirit and I. 
O what a dainty pleasure 't is 



164 MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 

To ride in the air 
When the moon shines fair, 
And sing and dance, and toy and kiss ! 
Over woods, high rocks and mountains, 
Over seas, our mistress' fountains ; 
Ov<>r steeples, towers, and turrets, 
We fly by night, 'mongst troops of spirits : 
No ring of bells to our ears sounds ; 
No howls of wolves, no yelps of hounds ; 
No, not the noise of water's breach, 
Or cannon's throat our height can reach. 
[Voice above.'] No ring of bells, &c. 

Fire. Well, mother, I thank your kindness : you must be gambolling i' 
th' air, and leave me to walk here, like a fool and a mortal. 

MlDDLETON. 



THE CHRISTIAN LADY AND THE ANGEL. 

An Angel, in the guise of a Page, attends on Dorothea. 

Dor. My book and taper 

Ang. Here, most holy mistress. 

Dor. Thy voice sends forth such music, that I never 
Was ravish'd with a more celestial sound. 
Were every servant in the world like thee, 
So full of goodness, angels would come down 
To dwell with us : thy name is Angelo, 
And like that name thou art. Get thee to rest; 
Thy youth with too much watching is opprest. 

Ang. No, my dear lady ; I could weary stars, 
And force the wakeful moon to lose her eyes, 
By my late watching, but to wait on you. 
When at your prayers you kneel before the altar, 
Methinks I'm singing with some quire in heaven, 
So blest I hold me in your company : 
Therefore, my most lov'd mistress, do not bid 
Your boy, so serviceable, to get hence : 
For then you break his heart 

Dor. Be nigh me still then. 

In golden letters down I'll set that day 
Which gave thee to me. Little did I hope 
To meet such worlds of comfort in thyself, 



MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 165 



This little, pretty body, when I, coming 
Forth of the temple, heard my beggar-boy, 
My sweet-faced, godly beggar-boy, crave an alms, 
Which with glad hand I gave, with lucky hand ! 
And when I took thee home, my most chaste bosom 
Methought was fill'd with no hot wanton fire, 
But with a holy flame, mounting since higher, 
On wings of cherubims, than it did before. 

Ang. Proud am I, that my lady's modest eye 
So likes so poor a servant. 

Dor. I have offer' d 

Handfuls of gold but to behold thy parents. 
I would leave kingdoms, were I queen of some 
To dwell with thy good father ; for, the son 
Bewitching me so deeply with his presence, 
He that got him must do it ten times more. 
I pray thee, my sweet boy, show me thy parents ; 
Be not asham'd. 

Ang. I am not : I did never 

Know who my mother was ; but by yon palace, 
Fill'd with bright heavenly courts, I dare assure you, 
And pawn these eyes upon it, and this hand, 
My father is in heaven ; and, pretty mistress, 
If your illustrious hour-glass spend his sand, 
No worse than yet it does, upon my life. 
You and I both shall meet my father there, 
And he shall bid you welcome ! 

Dor. O blessed day ! 

We all long to be there, but lose the way. 



[Exeunt 



Dorothea is executed; and the Angel visits Theophilus, the Judge 

that condemned her. 

Theoph. (alone) This Christian slut was well, 

A pretty one ; but let such horror follow 
The next I feed with torments, that when Rome 
Shall hear it, her foundation at the sound 
May feel an earthquake. How now ? (Music.) 

Ang. Are you amazed, sir ? 

So great a Roman spirit, and doth it tremble ? 

Theoph. How cam'st thou in ? to whom thy business? 

Ang. To you. 
I had a mistress, late sent hence by you 
Upon a bloody errand ; you entreated, 
That, when she came into that blessed garden 



1G6 MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 

Whither she knew she went, and where, now happy, 
She feeds upon all joy, she would send to you 
Some of tnat garden fruit and flowers; which here, 
To have her promise sav'd, are brought by me. 

Theoph. Cannot I see this garden ? 

Ang. Yes, if the master 

Will give you entrance. (He vanishes.) 

Theoph. 'Tis a tempting fruit, 

And the most bright-cheek'd child I ever view'd ; 
Sweet-smelling, goodly fruit. What flowers are these i 
In Dioclesian's gardens, the most beauteous 
Compar'd with these are weeds : is it not February, 
The second day she died ? frost, ice, and snow, 
Hang on the beard of winter : where's the sun 
That gilds this summer ? pretty, sweet boy, say, 
In what country shall a man find this garden ? — 
My delicate boy, — gone ! vanish'd ! within there, 
Julianus ! Geta ! 

Both. My lord. 

Theoph. Are my gates shut ? 

Geta. And guarded. 

Theoph. Saw you not 

A boy ? 

Jul. Where ? 

Theoph. Here he enter'd, a young lad ; 

A thousand blessings danc'd upon his eyes ; 
A smooth-fac'd glorious thing, that brought this basket. 

Geta. No, sir. 

Theoph. Away ! but be in "each, if my voice calls you. 

Decker. 



LADIES DANCING. 



A fine sweet earthquake, gently mov'd 
By the soft wind of whispering silks. 

The same. 



MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 167 



APRIL AND WOMEN'S TEARS. 

Trust not a woman when she cries, 
For she'll pump water from her eyes 
With a wet finger, and in faster showers 
Than April when he rains down flowers. 

The same. 



DEATH. 

There's a lean fellow beats all conquerors. 

The same. 



PATIENCE. 

Duke. What comfort do you find in being so calm ? 

Candido. That which green wounds receive from sovereign balm. 
Patience, my lord ! why, 'tis the soul of peace ; 
Of all the virtues 't is nearest kin to heaven ; 
It makes men look like gods. The best of men 
That e'er wore earth about him was a sufferer, 
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit, 
The first true gentleman that ever breath'd. 
The stock of patience then cannot be poor ; 
All it desires, it has ; what award more ? 
It is the greatest enemy to law 
That can be, for it doth embrace all wrongs, 
And so chains up lawyer's and women's tongues : 
' T is the perpetual prisoner's liberty, 
His walks and orchards : 't is the bond-slave's freedom, 
And makes him seem proud of his iron chain, 
As though he wore it more for state than pain : 
It is the beggar's music, and thus sings, — 



168 MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 

Although their bodies beg, their souls are kings. 
0, my dread liege ! it is the sap of bliss, 
Bears us aloft, makes men and angels kiss ; 
And last of all, to end a household strife, 
It is the honey 'gainst a waspish wife. 



The same. 

I had a doubt whether to put this exquisite passage into the 
present volume, or to reserve it for one of Contemplative poetry ; 
but the imagination, which few will lot think predominant in it, 
together with a great admiration of the sentiments, of the 
thoughtful, good-natured alternation of jest and earnest, and of 
the sweetness of the versification, increased by a certain wild 
mixture of rhyme and blank verse, determined me to indulge 
the impulse. Perhaps Decker, who had experienced the worst 
troubles of poverty, not excepting loss of liberty, drew his pa- 
tient man from himself, half-jesting over the portrait, in order to 
reconcile his praises of the virtue in the abstract, with a modest 
sense of it in his own person. To the strain in it of a " higher 
mood," I cannot but append what Mr. Hazlitt has said in his 
Lectures on the Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (Temple- 
man's edition, p. 21). "There have been persons who, being 
sceptics as to the divine mission of Christ, have taken an unac- 
countable prejudice to his doctrines, and have been disposed to 
deny the merit of his character ; but this was not the feeling of 
the great men in the age of Elizabeth (whatever might be their 
belief), one of whom says of him, with a boldness equal to its 
piety, ' The best of men,' " &c. (Here the lecturer quotes the 
verses alluded to and adds), " This was honest old Decker ; and 
the lines ought to embalm his memory to every one who has a 
sense either of religion, or philosophy, or humanity, or true 
genius." 



A WICKED DREAM. 

Vittoria Corombona. To pass away the time I '11 tell your grace 
A dream I had last night. 



MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 169 



Brachiano. Most wishedly. 

Pit. Cor. A foolish idle dream, 
Methought I walk'd, about the mid of night, 
Into a church-yard, where a goodly yew-tree 
Spread her large root in ground. Under that yew, 
As I sat sadly leaning on a grave 
Checquer'd with cross sticks, there came stealing in 
Your duchess and my husband ; one of them 
A pick-axe bore, tlv other a rusty spade, 
And in rough terms they 'gan to challenge me 
About this yew. 

Brack. That tree ? 

Pit. Cor. This harmless yew. 

They told me my intent was to root up 
That well-known yew, and plant i' th' stead of it 
A wither'd black-thorn : and for that they vow'd 
To bury me alive. My husband straight 
With pick-axe 'gan to dig ; and your fell duchess 
With shovel, like a fury, voided out 
The earth, and scattered bones : Lord, how, methought, 
I trembled, and yet for all this terror 
I could not pray. 

Flamineo. (aside.) No ; the devil was in your dream. 

Pit. Cor. When to my rescue there arose, methought 
A whirlwind, which let fall a massy arm, 
From that strong plant ; 

And both were struck dead by that sacred yew, 
In that base shallow grave which was their due. 

Flamineo. (aside.) Excellent devil ' she hath taught him in a dream 
To make away his duchess and her husband 

Webster. 



NATURAL DEATH. 

0, thou soft natural death, that art joint twin 
To sweetest slumber ! no rough-bearded comet 
Stares on thy mild departure ; the. dull owl 
Beats not against thy casement ; the hoarse wolf 
Scents not thy carrion : pity winds thy corse, 
Whilst horror waits on princes. 

The same 



170 M1DDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. 



FUNERAL DIRGE. 
(Sung by a Mother over her Son.) 

Call for the robin red-breast and the wren, 

Since o'er shady groves they hover, 

And with leaves of flowers do cover 
The friendless bodies ofunburied men. 

Call unto his funeral dole 

The ant, the field mouse, and the mole, 
To raise him hillocks that shall keep him warm ; 
And when gay tombs are robb'd, sustain no harm : 
But keep the wolf far thence, that 's foe to men, 
For with his nails he '11 dig them up again. 

The same. 

" I never saw," says Lamb, " anything like this dirge, except 
the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his drowned father in the 
Tempest. That is of the water, watery ; so this is of the earth, 
eartny. Both have that intenseness of feeling which seems to 
resolve itself into the elements which it contemplates." — Dra- 
matic Specimens, Moxon's edition, vol. i., p. 251. 



DISSIMULATION. 

• 

Be not cunning; 
For those whose faces do belie their hearts 
Are witches ere they arrive at twenty years, 
And give the devil suck. 

The same. 



MIDDLETON, DECKER, AND WEBSTER. Ill 



BEAUTEOUS MORAL EXAMPLE. 

Her I hold 
My honorable pattern ; one whose mind 
Appears more like a ceremonious chapel 
Full of sweet music, than a thronging presence. 

The same. 



UNLOVELINESS OF FROWNING. 

Cupid sets a crown 

Upon those lovely tresses 
O, spoil not with a frown, 

What he so sweetly dresses ! 

The same. 



172 MILTON. 



MILTON, 

BORN, 1608, DIED, 1674. 



It is difficult to know what to do with some of the finest passages 
in Milton's great poem. To treat the objectionable points of 
their story as mythological, might be thought irreverent to opi- 
nion ; and to look upon them in the light in which he at first 
wished us to regard them (for he is understood to have changed 
his own opinions of it), involves so much irreverence towards the 
greatest of beings, that it is painful to seem to give them counte- 
nance. The difficulty is increased in a volume of the present 
kind, which is intended to give the reader no perplexity, except 
to know what to admire most. I have therefore thought it best 
to confine the extracts from Paradise Lost to unconnected pas- 
sages ; and the entire ones to those poems which he wrote when 
a happy youth, undegenerated into superstition. The former 
will still include his noblest flights of imagination : the rest are 
ever fresh, true, and delightful. 

Milton was a very great poet, second only (if second) to the 
very greatest, such as Dante and Shakspeare ; and, like all 
great poets, equal to them in particular instances. He had no 
pretensions to Shakspeare's universality ; his wit is dreary ; 
and (in general) he had not the faith in things that Homer and 
Dante had, apart from the intervention of words. He could not 
let them speak for themselves without helping them with his 
learning. In all he did, after a certain period of youth (not to 
speak it irreverently), something of the schoolmaster is visible ; 
and a gloomy religious creed removes him still farther from the 
universal gratitude and delight of mankind. He is understood, 
however, as I have just intimated, to have given this up before 
he died. He had then run the circle of his knowledge, and 



MILTON. 173 



probably come round to the wiser, more cheerful, and more po- 
etical beliefs of his childhood. 

In this respect, Allegro and Penseroso are the happiest of his 
productions ; and in none is the poetical habit of mind more 
abundantly visible. They ought to precede the Lycidas (not 
unhurt with theology) in the modern editions of his works, as 
they did in the collection of minor poems made by himself. 
Paradise Lost is a study for imagination and elaborate musical 
structure. Take almost any passage, and a lecture might be 
read from it on contrasts and pauses, and other parts of metrical 
harmony ; while almost every word has its higher poetical mean- 
ing and intensity ; but all is accompanied with a certain oppres- 
siveness of ambitious and conscious power. In the Allegro and 
Penseroso, &c, he is in better spirits with all about him ; his 
eyes had not grown dim, nor his soul been forced inwards by disap- 
pointment into a proud self-esteem, which he narrowly escaped 
erecting into self-worship. He loves nature, not for the power 
he can get out of it, but for the pleasure it affords him ; he is at 
peace with town as well as country, with courts and cathedral- 
windows ; goes to the play and laughs ; to the village-green 
and dances : and his study is placed, not in the Old Jewry, but 
in an airy tower, from whence he good-naturedly hopes that his 
candle — I beg pardon, his " lamp," for he was a scholar from 
the first, though not a Puritan — maybe "seen" by others. His 
mirth, it. is true, is not excessively merry. It is, as Warton 
says, the " dignity of mirth ;" but it is happy, and that is all that 
is to be desired. The mode is not to be dictated by the mode of 
others ; nor would it be so interesting if it were. The more a 
man is himself the better, provided he add a variation to the 
stock of comfort, and not of sullenness. Milton was born in a 
time of great changes ; and in the order of events and the 
working of good out of ill, we are bound to be grateful to what 
was of a mixed nature in himself, without arrogating for him that 
exemption from the mixture which belongs to no man. But upon 
the same principle on which nature herself loves joy better than 
grief, health than disease, and a general amount of welfare than the 
reverse (urging men towards it where itdoes not prevail, and mak- 
ing many a form of discontent itself but a mode of pleasure and 



174 MILTON. 



self-esteem), so Milton's great poem never has been, and never can 
be popular (sectarianism apart) compared with his minor ones ; 
nor does it, in the very highest sense of popularity, deserve to 
be. It does not work out the very piety it proposes ; and the 
piety which it does propose wants the highest piety of an intelli- 
gible charity and reliance. Hence a secret preference for his 
minor poems among many of the truest and selectest admirers 
of Paradise Lost, — perhaps with all who do not admire power in 
any shape above truth in the best ; hence Warton's fond edition 
of them, delightful for its luxurious heap of notes and parallel 
passages ; and hence the pleasure of being able to extract the 
finest of them, without misgiving, into a volume like the present. 



SATAN'S RECOVERY FROM HIS DOWNFALL. 

He scarce had ceas'd, when the superior Fiend 

Was moving toward the shore, his ponderous shield 

Behind him cast; the broad circumference 

Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb 

Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views 

At evening from the top of Fesoli 

Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands, 

Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe. 

His spear, to equal which the tallest pine 

Hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast 

Of some great ammiral, were but a wand, 

He walk'd with, to support uneasy steps 

Over the burning marie, not like those steps 

On Heaven's azure ; and the torrid clime 

Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire : 

Nathless he so endur'd, till on the beach 

Of that inflamed sea he stood, and call'd, 

His legions, angel forms, who lay entranc'd 

Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks 

In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades, 

High over-arch' d, embower ; or scatter'd sedge 

Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion arm'd 

Hath vex'd the Red Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew 

Busiris and his Memphian Chivalry, 

While with perfidious hatred they pursued 

The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld 

From the safe shore their floating carcasses 



MILTON. 175 



And broken chariot wheels : so thick bestrown, 
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood, 
Under ment of their hideous change. 

He calVd so loud, that all the hollow deep 
Of Hell resounded. Princes, Potentates, 

dors, the flower of Heaven, once yours, now lost, 
If such astonishment as this can seize 
Eternal Spirits ; or have ye chosen this place 
After the toil of battle to repose 
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find 
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven ? 
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn 
To adore the conqueror ? who now beholds 
Cherub and Seraph rolling in the flood, 
With scatter'd arms and ensigns ; till anon 
His swift pursuers from heaven-gates discern 
The advantage, and, descending, tread us down, 
Thus drooping, or with linked thunderbolts 
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf. 
Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen! 



THE FALLEN ANGELS GATHERED AGAIN TO WAR. 

All these and more came flocking ; but with looks 

Downcast and damp ; yet such wherein appear'd 

Obscure, some glimpse of joy, to have found their chief 

Not in despair ; which on his countenance cast 

Like doubtful hue ; but he, his wonted pride 

Soo i recollecting, with high words, that bore 

Semblance of worth, not substance, gently rais'd 

Their fainting courage, and dispell'd their fears. 

Then straight commands, that at the warlike sound 

Of trumpets loud and clarions be uprear'd 

His mighty standard: that proud honor claim'd 

Azazel as his right, a cherub tall ; 

Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurl'd 

The imperial ensign ; which, full high advanc'd. 

Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind, 

With gems and golden Lustre rich emblaz'd, 

Seraphic arms and trophies; all the while 

So-norous metal blowing martial sounds : 

At which the universal host up-sent 



76 MILTON. 



A shout, that tore Hell's concave, and beyond 
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night. 
All in a moment through the gloom were seen 
Ten thousand banners rise into the air 
With orient colors waving : with them rose 
A forest huge of spears ; and thronging helms 
Appear'd, and serried shields, in thick array 
Of depth immeasurable : anon they move 
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 
Of flutes and soft recorders ; such as rais'd 
To height of noblest temper heroes old 
Arming to battle ; and instead of rage 
Deliberate valor breath'd, firm and unmov'd 
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat, 
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage 
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase 
Anguish, and doubt, and fear, and sorrow, and pain, 
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they 
Breathing united force, with fixed thought, 
Jlfov'd on in silence to soft pipes, that charnCd 
Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil : and now 
Advanc'd in view they stand, a horrid front 
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise 
Of warriors old with order'd spear and shield ; 
Awaiting what command their mighty chief 
Had to impose : he through the armed files 
Darts his experienc'd eye, and soon traverse 
The whole battalion views ; their order due ; 
Their visages and stature as of gods ; 
Their number last he sums. And now his heart 
Distends with pride, and hardening in his strength 
Glories: for never, since created man, 
Met such embodied force, as nam'd with these 
Could merit more than that small infantry 
Warr'd on by cranes ; though all the giant brood 
Of Phlegra with the heroic race were join'd 
That fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each side 
Mix'd with auxiliar gods ; and what resounds 
In fable or romance of Uther's son 
Begirt with British and Armoric knights ; 
And all who since, baptiz'd or infidel, 
Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban 
Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond, 
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore, 
When Charlemain with all his peerage fell 
By Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyond 



MILTON. 177 



Compare of mortal prowess, yet observ'd 
Their dread commander : he, above the rest 
In shape and gesture proudly eminent, 
Stood like a tower : his form had yet not lost, 
All her original brightness ; nor appear' d 
Less than arch-angel ruin'd, and the excess 
Of glory obscur'd: as when the sun, new risen, 
Looks through the horizontal misty air 
Shorn of his beams ; or from behind the moon, 
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds 
On half the nations, and with fear of change 
Perplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shone 
Above them all the arch-angel : but his face 
Deep scars of thunder had intrench' d ; and care 
Sat on his faded cheek ; but under brows 
Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride, 
Waiting revenge. 



VULCAN. 

Nor was his name unheard, or unador'd 
In ancient Greece ; — and in Ausonian land 
Men call'd him Mulciber ; and how he fell 
From heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove 
Sheer o'er the crystal battlements. From morn 
To noon he fell ; — from noon to dewy eve, 
A summer's day ; and with the setting sun 
Dr opt from the zenith like a falling star. 



THE FALLEN ANGELS HEARD RISING FROM COUNCIL 

Their rising all at once was as the sound 
Of thunder heard remote. 

18 



L78 MILTON. 



SATAN ON THE WING FOR EARTH. 

Meanwhile the adversary of God and man, 

Satan, with thoughts inflam'd of highest design, 

Puts on swift wings, and towards the gates of hell 

Explores his solitary flight : sometimes 

He scours the right-hand coast, sometimes the left ; 

Now shaves with level wing the deep ; then soars 

Up to the fiery concave towering high. 

As when far off at sea a fleet descried 

Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds 

Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles 

Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring 

Their spicy drugs ; they, on the trading flood, 

Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape, 

Ply stemming nightly towards the pole : So seemed 

Far off the flying Fiend. 



THE MEETING OF SATAN AND DEATH. 

The other shape 
If shape it might be call'd that shape had none 
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb ; 
Or substance might be call'd that shadow seem'd, 
For each seem'd either : black it stood as Night, 
Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell, 
And shook a dreadful dart ; what seem'd his head 
The likeness of a kingly crown had on. 
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat 
The monster moving onward came as fast 
With horrid strides ; Hell trembled as he strode. 
The undaunted Fiend what this might be admir'd, 
Admir'd, not fear'd ; God and his Son except, 
Created thing naught valued he, nor shunn'd ; 
And with disdainful look thus first began : — 

" Whence and what art thou, execrable shape! 
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance 
Thy miscreated front athwart my way 



MILTON. 179 



To yonder gates ? through them I mean to pass, 
That be assur'd, with leave unask'd of thee : 
Retire, or taste thy folly ; and learn by proof, 
Hell-born ! not to contend with Spirits of Heaven." 

To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied : — 
" Art thou that Traitor-angel ; art thou he 
Who first broke peace in heaven, and faith, till then 
Unbroken ; and in proud rebellious arms 
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons 
Conjur'd against the Highest; for which both thou 
And they, outcast from God, are here condemn'd 
To waste eternal days in wo and pain ? 
And reckon'st thou thyself with Spirits of Heaven, 
Hell-doom'd ! and breath'st defiance here and scorn, 
Where I reign king, and to enrage thee more, 
Thy king and lord '? Back to thy punishment, 
False fugitive ! and to thy speed add wings, 
Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursue 
Thy lingering, or with one stroke of this dart, 
Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before." 

So spake the grizly Terror, and in shape, 
So speaking and so threatening, grew ten-fold 
More dreadful and deform. On the other side 
Incens'd with indignation, Satan stood 
Unterrified ; and like a comet bum'd, 
That fires the length of Ojmiuchus huge 
In the arctic sky, and from his horrid hair 
Shakes pestilence and war. Each at the head 
Levelled his deadly aim ; their fatal hands 
JVo second stroke intend; and such a frown 
Each cast at the other, as when two black clouds 
With Heaven's artillery fraught, come rattling on 
Over the Caspian, then stand front to front, 
Hovering a space, till winds the signal blow 
To join their dark encounter in mid air : 
So frown'd the mighty combatants, that hell 
Grew darker at their frown ; so match'd they stood ; 
For never but once more was either like 
To meet so great a foe : and now great deeds 
Had been achiev'd, whereof all hell had rung, 
Had not the snaky Sorceress that sat 
Fast by hell-gate, and kept the fatal key, 
Risen, and with hideous outcry rush'd between. 



180 MILTON. 



L'ALLEGRO. 

Hence, loathed Melancholy, 

Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born 

In Stygian cave forlorn, 

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy 

Find out some uncouth cell, 

Where brooding Darkness spreads her jealous wings, 

And the night-raven sings ; 

There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks 

As ragged as thy locks, 

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. 

But corne, thou goddess fair and free, 

In heaven yclept Euphrosyne, 

And by men, heart-easing Mirth ; 

Whom lovely Venus, at a birth 

With two sister Graces more, 

To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore : 

Or whether, as some sager sing, 1 

The frolic wind, that breathes the spring, 

Zephyr with Aurora playing, 

As he met her once a Maying, 

There on beds of violets blue 

And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew, 

Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair, 

So buxom, blithe and debonair. 

Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee 

Jest and youthful Jollity, 

Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, 2 

Nods and Becks and wreathtd Smiles 

Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, 

And love to live in dimple sleek ; 

Sport that wrinkled Care derides, 

And Laughter holding both his sides. 

Come and trip it, as you go, 

On the light fantastic toe ; 

And in thy right hand lead with thee 

The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty; 

And, if I give thee honor due, 

Mirth, admit me of thy crew, 



MILTON. isi 



To live with her, and live with thee, 

In unreproved pleasures free ; 

To hear the lark begin his flight, 

And singing, startle the dull night, 

From, his watch-tower in the skies, 

Till the dappled dawn doth rise ; 

Then to come in spite of sorrow, 

And at my window bid good morrow, 

Through the sweet-briar, or the vine, 

Or the twisted eglantine ; 

While the cock with lively din, 

Scatters the rear of darkness thin, 

And to the stack or the barn-door 

Stoutly struts his dames before : 

Oft listening how the hounds and horn 

Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn, 

From the side of some hoar hill, 

Through the high wood echoing shrill : 

Sometimes walking, not unseen, 

By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green, 

Right against the eastern gate, 

Where the great Sun begins his state, 

Robed in flames and amber light, 

The clouds in thousand liveries dight; 

While the ploughman near at hand, 

I1 7 histles o'er the furrowed land, 

And the milkmaid singeth blithe, 

And the mower whets his scythe, 

And every shepherd tells his tale, 4 

Under the hawthorn in the dale. 

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, 

Whilst the landskip round it measures , 

Russet lawns, and fallows gray, 

Where the nibbling flocks do stray , 

Mountains, on whose barren breast 

The laboring clouds do often rest 

Meadows trim with daisies pied, 

Shallow brooks and rivers wide. 

Towers and battlements it sees 

Bosom' d high in tufted trees, 

Where perhaps some beauty lies, 

The cynosure of neighboring eyes.* 

Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes, 

From betwixt tioo aged oaks ; 

Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met, 

Are at their savory dinner set 



182 MILTON. 



Of herbs, and other country messes, 

Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ; 

And then in haste her bower she leaves 

With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ; 

Or, if the earlier season lead, 

To the tann'd haycock in the mead. 

Sometimes, with secure delight, 

The upland hamlets will invite, 

When the merry bells ring round, 

And the jocund rebecks sound 

To many a youth and many & maid, 

Dancing in the chequer 'd shade. ; 

And young and old come forth to play 

On a sunshine holy-day, 

Till the live-long day-light fail. 

Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, 

With stories told of many a feat, 

How faery Mab the junkets eat: 

She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she said, 

And he, by friars' lantern led ; 

Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat, 

To earn his cream-bowl duly set, 

When in one night, ere glimpse of morn, 

His shadowy flail had thrash'd the corn, 

That ten-day laborers could not end ; 

Then lies him down the lubber fiend, 

And stretch'd out all the chimney's length 

Basks at the fire his hairy strength ; 

And crop-full out of doors he flings, 

Ere the first cock his matin rings. 

Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, 

By whispering winds soon lull'd to sleep, 

Tower'd cities please us then, 

And the busy hum of men, 

Where throngs of knights and barons bold, 

In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold, 

With store of ladies, whose bright eyes 

Rain influence, 6 and judge the prize 

Of wit, or arms, while both contend 

To win her grace, whom all commend. 

There let Hymen oft appear 

In saffron robe, with taper clear ; 

And pomp, and feast, and revelry, 

With masque and antique pageantry ; 

Such sights as youthful poets dream 

On summer eves by haunted stream. 



MILTON. 183 



Then to the well-trod stage anon, 

If Jonson's learned sock be on, 7 

Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child, 

Warble his native wood-notes wild 

And ever against eating cares, 

Lap me in soft Lydian airs, 

Married to immortal verse, 

Such as the meeting soul may pierce, 

In notes with many a winding bout 

Of linked sweetness long drawn out, 

With wanton heed and giddy cunning, 

The melting voice through mazes running, 

Untwisting all the chains that tie 

The hidden soul of harmony ; 

That Orpheus' self may heave his head 

From golden slumbers on a bed 

Of heap 'dElysian flowers and hear 

Such strains as would have won the ear 

Of Pluto, to have quite set free 

His half regained Eurydice. 

These delights if thou canst give, 

Mirth, with thee I mean to live. 

Milton shows his early fondness for the Italian language, by 
taking from it the titles of these poems. V Allegro is the mirth- 
ful (man), and II Penseroso the melancholy (pensive rather, or 
thoughtful). These two poems are supposed, with good reason, 
to have been written at Horton in Buckinghamshire, where his 
parents were residing at the time of their composition. I men- 
tion this circumstance, first because it is pleasant to know when 
poetry is written in poetical places, and next for the sake of 
such readers as may happen to know the spot. 

i " Some sager sing." — Ben Jonson, in one of his Masks. " Be- 
cause," says Warburton, "those who give to Mirth such gross 
companions as Eating and Drinking, are the less sage mytholo- 
gists." 

2 " Quips, and Cranks, and wanton Wiles." — What a Crank is, the 
commentators are puzzled to say. They guess, from analogy 
with " winding turns" (which the word originally appears to 
signify), that the poet means cross purposes, or some other such 
pastime. The witty author of Hints to a young Reviewer (after- 
wards, I believe, no mean reviewer himself), who criticised these 



184 MILTON. 



poems upon the pleasant assumption of their having "just come 
out," and expressed his astonishment at " Mr. Milton's amatory- 
notions" (I quote from memory), takes occasion, from the obscu- 
rity of this word, to observe, that the " phenomenon of a trip- 
ping crank" would be very curious, and " doubtless attract nu- 
merous spectators." He also, in reference to passages a little 
further on, wonders how " Mirth can be requested to come and 
go at the same instant;" and protests at the confident immortal- 
ity of the "young gentleman who takes himself for a poet," in 
proposing to live with Mirth and Liberty both together. 

To live with her, and live with thee, 
In unreproved pleasures free. 

How delightful is wit, when bantering in behalf of excellence ! 



z "Through the sweet-briar," &c— « Sweet-briar and eglantine," 
says Warton, " are the same plant : by the twisted eglantine he 
therefore means the honey-suckle : all three are plants often 
growing against the side or walls of a house." This is true ; 
yet the deduction is hai'dly certain. The same name sometimes 
means different flowers, in different counties ; as may be seen 
from passages in Shakspeare. Eglantine, however, is the 
French word for the flower of the sweet-briar (eglantier) ; and 
hence it came to mean, in English, the briar itself. Perhaps, if 
Milton had been asked why he used it in this place, he would 
have made Johnson's noble answer to the lady, when she inquir- 
ed why he defined pastern, in his Dictionary, to be a horse's 
knee ; — " Ignorance, madam, ignorance." Poets are often fonder 
of flowers than learned in their names ; and Milton, like his 
illustrious brethren, Chaucer and Spenser, was born within the 
sound of Bow bell. 

4 " And every shepherd tells his tale." — It used to be thought, till 
Mr. Headley informed Warton otherwise, telling his tale meant 
telling a love-tale, or story. The correction of this fancy is now 
admitted ; namely, that tale is a technical word for numbering 
sheep, and is so used by several poets, — Dryden for one. War- 
ton, like a proper Arcadian, was loth to give up the fancy ; but 
he afterwards found the new interpretation to be much the better 



MILTON. 185 

one. Every shepherd telling his story or love-lale, under a 
hawthorn, at one and the same instant, all over a district, would 
resemble indeed those pastoral groups upon bed-curtains, in 
which, and in no other place, such marvels are to be met with. 
Yet, in common perhaps with most young readers, I remember 
the time when I believed it, and was as sorry as Warton to be 
undeceived. 

5 " The Cynosure of neighboring eye." — Cynosure (dog's-tail) for 
load-star, must have been a term a little hazardous, as well as 
over-learned, when it first appeared ; though Milton, thinking of the 
nymph who was changed into the star so called (since known as 
Ursa minor), was probably of opinion, that it gave his image a 
peculiar fitness and beauty. That enjoying and truly poetical 
commentator, Thomas Warton, quotes a passage from Browne's 
Britamiia's Pastorals, that may have been in Milton's recol- 
lection : — 

Yond palace, whose pale turret tops 
Over the stately wood survey the copse ; 

and then he indulges in pleasing memories of the old style of 
building, and in regrets for the new, which was less picturesque 
and less given to concealment. " This was the great mansion- 
house," says he, " in Milton's early days. With respect to 
their rural residences, there was a coyness in our Gothic ances- 
tors. Modern seats are seldom so deeply ambushed." Warton 
would have been pleased at the present revival of the old taste, 
which indeed is far superior to the bald and barrack-like insipi- 
dities of his day ; though as to the leafy accessories, I am afraid 
the poetic pleasure of living " embosoin'd " in trees is not 
thought the most conducive to health. 

6 " Rain influence." — Da begli occhi un piacer si caldo piove. 
Such fervent pleasure rains from her sweet eyes. 

Petrarch, Son. czxzi 

T'Jonson's learned sock." — "Milton has more frequently and 
openly copied the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher than of 
Shakspcare. One is therefore surprised, that in his panegyric 
on the stage he did not mention the twin-bards, when he ecle- 



186 MILTON. 



brated the learned sock of Jonson, and the wood-notes wild of 
Shakspeare. But he concealed his love." — Warton. 

Perhaps he was afraid of avowing it, on account of the licence 
of their muse. 



IL PENSEROSO. 

Hence, vain deluding Joys, 

The brood of Folly without Father bred ! 

How little you bested, 

Or rill the fixed mind with all your toys ! 

Dwell in some idle brain, 

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, 

As thick and numberless 

As the gay motes thai people the sunbeams ; 8 

Or likeliest hovering dreams, 

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train. 

But hail, thou Goddess, sage and holy, 

Hail, divinest Melancholy ! 

Whose saintly visage is too bright 

To hit the sense of human sight, 

And therefore, to our loeaker view, 

Overlaid with black, staid wisdom's hue ; 

Black, but such as in esteem 

Prince Memnon's sister might beseem, 9 

Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove 

To set her beauty's praise above 

The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended : 

Yet thou art higher far descended : 

Thee bright-haired Vesta, long of yore, 

To solitary Saturn bore : 

His daughter she ; in Saturn's reign 

Such mixture was not held a stain : 

Oft in glimmering bowers and glades 

He met her, and in secret shades 

Of woody Ida's inmost grove, 

Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove 

Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, 

Sober, stedfast, and demure, 

All in a robe of darkest grain, 

Flowing with majestic tram, 



MILTON. 187 



And sable stole of Cypress lawn 

Over thy decent shoulders drawn. 

Come, but keep thy wonted state, 

With even step and musing gait, 

And looks commercing with the skies, 

Thy rapt soul sitti?ig in thine eyes ; 

There held in holy passion still, 

Forget thyself to marble, till, 

With a sad leaden downward cast, 

Thou fix them on the earth as fast, — 

And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet, 

Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, 

And hears the Muses in a ring 

Aye round about Jove's altar sing : 

And add to these retired Leisure, 

That in trim gardens takes his pleasure : 

But first, and chiefest, with thee bring 

Him that yon soars on golden wing, 

Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, 

The cherub Contemplation ; 10 

And the mute Silence hist along, 

Less Philomel will deign a song, 

In her sweetest saddest plight, 

Smoothing the rugged brow of night, 

While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke 

Gently o'er the accustom'd oak, 

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, 

Most musical, most melancholy ! n 

Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among 

I woo to hear thy even-song : 

And missing thee, I walk unseen 

On the dry smooth-shaven green, 

To behold the wandering moon, 

Riding near her highest noon, 

Like one that hath been led astray 13 

Through the heaven's wide pathless way ; 

And oft, as if her head she boufd, 

Stooping through a fleecy cloud. 

Oft, on a plot of rising ground. 

I hear the far-off curfew sound, 

Over some wide-water d shore, 

Swinging slow with sullen roar: 

Or, if the air will not permit, 

Some still removed place will fit, 

Where glowing embers through the room 13 

Teach light to counterfeit a gloom; 



188 MILTON. 



Far from all resort of mirth, 
Save the cricket on the hearth. 
Or the bellman's drowsy charm, 
To bless the doors from nightly harm. 
Or let my lamp at midnight hour, 
Be seen in some high lonely totver, u 
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear 
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere 
The spirit of Plato, to unfold 
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold 
The immortal mind, that hath forsook 
Her mansion in this fleshly nook : 
And of those demons that are found 
In fire, air, flood, or under ground, 
Whose power hath a true consent 
With planet or with element. 
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy 
In sceptred pall come sweeping by, 
Presenting Thebes or Pelops' line, 
Or the tale of Troy divine ; 
Or what (though rare) of later age 
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage. 
But 0, sad virgin, that thy power 
Might raise Musaeus from his bower ? 
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing 
Such notes as, warbled to the string, 
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek, 
And made Hell grant what love did seek . 
Or call up him that left half told 15 
The story of Cambuscan bold, 
Of Camball, and of Algarsife, 
And who had Canace to wife, 
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass ; 
And of the wondrous horse of brass, 
On which the Tartar king did ride : 
And if aught else great bards beside 
In sage and solemn tunes have sung, 
Of turneys and of trophies hung, 
Of forests and enchantments drear, 
Where more is meant than meets the ear 
Thus Night, oft see me in thy pale career, 
Till civil-suited morn appear ; 
Not trick'd and froune'd as she was went 
With the Attic boy to hunt, 
Butkercheft in a comely cloud, 
While rocking winds are piping loud, 



MILTON. 189 



Or usher'd with a shower still 

When the gust hath blown his Jill, 

Ending on the rustling leaves 

With minute-drops from off the eaves : 

And when the sun begins to fling 

His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring 

To arched walks of twilight groves, 

And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves, 

Of pine, or monumental oak, 

Wliere the rude axe, with heaved stroke, 

Was never heard the nymphs to daunt, 

Or fright them from their hallowed haunt 

There in close covert by some brook, 

Where no profaner eye may look, 

Hide me from day's garish eye, 

While the bee with honied thigh, 

That at her flowery work doth sing, 

And the waters murmuring, 

With such consort as they keep, 

Entice the dewy-feather 'd Sleep ; 

And let some strange mysterious dream 

Wave at his wings in airy stream 

Of lively portraiture display'd, 

Softly on my eyelids laid ; 

And, as I wake, sweet music breathe 

Above, about, or underneath, 

Sent by some spirit to mortals good, 

Or the unseen Genius of the wood. 

But let rny due fest never fail 

To walk the studious cloister's pale, 

And love the high embowed roof, 

With antick pillars, massy proof, 

And storied windows richly dight, 

Casting a dim religious light: 

There let the pealing organ blow 

To the full-voic'd quire below ; 

In service high and anthems clear, 

As may with sweet?iess, through mine ear t 

Dissolve me into ecstacies, 

And bring all heaven before mine eyes 

And may at last my weary age 
Find out the peaceful hermitage, 
The hairy gown and mossy cell, 
Where I may sit and rightly spell 
Of every star that heaven doth shew, 
And every herb that sips the dew ; 



1*90 MILTON. 



Till old experience do attain 

To something like prophetic strain. 

These pleasures, Melancholy, give, 
And I with thee will choose to live. 

He pute the Penseroso last, as a climax ; because he prefers 
.he pensive mood to the mirthful. I do not know why he spells 
vhe word in this manner. I have never seen it without the i, — 
Pensieroso. In Florio's Dictionary the ie varies into an o, — 
Pensoroso ; whence apparently the abbreviated form, — Pensoso. 

8 "As thick as motes in the sunne beams." — Chaucer. — But see how 
by one word, people, a great poet improves what he borrows. 

6 " Prince Memnon's sister." — It does not appear, by the ancient 
authors, that Memnon had a sister ; but Milton wished him to 
have one ; so here she is. It has been idly objected to Spenser, 
w r ho dealt much in this kind of creation, that he had no rig-lit to 
add to persons and circumstances in old mythology. • As if the 
same poetry which saw what it did might not see more ! 

w " The cherub Contemplation." — Learnedly called cherub, not 
seraph ; because the cherubs were the angels of knowledge, the 
seraphs of love. In the celestial hierarchy, by a noble senti- 
ment, the seraphs rank higher than the cherubs. 

" " Most musical, most melancholy."— A question has been started 
of late years, whether the song of the nightingale is really 
melancholy ; whether it ought not rather to be called merry, as, 
in fact, Chaucer does call it. But merry, in Chaucer's time, 
did not mean solely what it does now ; but any kind of hasty or 
strenuous prevalence, as " merry men," meaning men in their 
heartiest and manliest condition. He speaks even of the " merry 
organ," meaning the church organ — the " merry organ of the 
mass." Coleridge, in some beautiful lines, thought fit to take the 
merry side, out of a notion, real or supposed, of the necessity of 
vindicating nature from sadness. But the question is surely 
very simple, — one of pure association of ideas. The night- 
ingale's song is not in itself melancholy, that is, no result ol 
sadness on the part of the bird ; but coming, as it does, in the 
night-time, and making us reflect, and reminding us by its very 
beauty of the mystery and fleetingness of all sweet things, it 



MILTON. 191 



becomes melancholy in the finer sense of the word, by the com- 
bined overshadowing of the hour and of thought. 

12 " Like one that hath been led astray.'''' — This calls to mind a 
beautiful passage about the moon, in Spenser's Epithalamium : — 

Who is the same that at my window peeps ? 
Or who is that fair face that shines so bright ? 
Is it not Cynthia, she that never sleeps, 
But walks about high heaven all the night ? 

13 « Where glowing embers." — Here, also, the reader is reminded 
of Spenser. — See p. 88: — 

A little glooming light much like a shade. 

14 " And may my lamp at midnight hour 
Be seen." 

The picturesque of the " be seen" has been much admired. 
Its good-nature seems to deserve no less approbation. The light 
is seen afar by the traveller, giving him a sense of home com- 
fort, and, perhaps, helping to guide his way. 

I s " Call up him that left half told 
The story of Cambuscan bold." 

Chaucer, with his Squire's Tale. But why did Milton turn 
Cambuscan, that is, Cambus the Khan, into Cambuscan. The 
accent in Chaucer is never thrown on the middle syllable. 



LYCIDAS. 

The poet bewails the death of his young friend and fellow- 
student, Edward King, of Christ's College, Cambridge, who was 
drowned at sea, on his way to visit his friends in Ireland. The 
vessel, which was in bad condition, went suddenly to the bottom, 
in calm weather, not far from the English coast ; and all on 
board perished. Milton was then in his twenty-ninth year, and 
his friend in his twenty-fifth. The poem, with good reason, is 



102 MILTON. 



supposed to have been written, like the preceding ones, at Hor- 
ton, in Buckinghamshire. 

Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more, 
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere, 
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, 
And with forced fingers rude 
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year 
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear, 
Compels me to disturb your season due : 
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, 
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer. 
Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he knew 
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. 
He must not float upon his watery bier 
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, 
Without the meed of some melodious tear. 10 

Begin, then, sisters of the sacred well, 
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring, 
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string, 17 
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse, 
So may some gentle Muse 
With lucky words favor my destin'd urn, 
And, as he passes, turn, 
And bid fair peace to be my sable shroud : 

For we were nurst upon the self-same hill, 
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill : 
Together both, e'er the high lawns appear'd 
Under the opening eyelids of the Morn, 
We drove a-field, and both together heard 
What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn. 
Batt'ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night 
Oft till the star, that rose, at evening, bright, 
Tow'rds heav'n's descent had slop'd his west'ring wheel 
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, 
Temper'd to the oaten flute ; 

Rough Satyrs dane'd ; and Fauns with cloven heel 
From the glad sound would not be absent long 
And old Damaetas lov'd to hear our song. 

But, O the heavy change, noiv thou art gone, 
Now thou art gone, and never must return ! 
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves, 
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, 
And all their echoes mourn. 
The willows, and the hazel copses green, 
Shall now no more be seen 



MILTON. 193 



Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. 

As killing as the canker to the rose, 

Or taint worm to the weanling herds that graze, 

Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear, 

When first the white thorn blows ; 

Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear, 

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep 
Closed o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas ? 1S 
For neither were ye playing on the steep, 
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, 
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, 
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream : 19 
Ah, me ! I fondly dream, 

Had ye been there — for what could that have done ? 
What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, 
The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, 
Whom universal Nature did lament, 
When, by the rout that made the hideous roar, 
His gory visage down the stream was sent, 
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore ? 

Alas ! what boots it with incessant care 
To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade, 
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ? 
Were it not better done, as others use, 
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, 
Or with the tangles of JVecsra's hair ? 
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise 
(That last infirmity of noble minds) 
To scorn delights, and live laborious days ; 
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, 
And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 
Comes the blind Fury with th' abhorred shears, 
And slits the thin-spun life. — " But not the praise" 
Phoebus reply'd, and touch'd my trembling ears ; 
" Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, 
Nor in the glist'ring foil 
Set off to the world, nor in broad rumor lies, 
But lives, and spreads aloft by those pure eyes, 
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove ; 
As he pronounces lastly on each deed, 
Of 30 much fame in heaven expect thy meed." 

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honor'd* flood, 
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds, 
That strain I heard was of a higher mood : 
But now my oat proceeds, 
And listens to the herald of the sea 
14 



194 MILTON. 



That came in Neptune's plea ; 

He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, 

What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain ? 

And question'd every gust of rugged wings 

That blows from off each beaked promontory. 

They knew not of his story ; 

And sage Hippotades their answer brings, 

That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd ; 

The air was calm, and on the level brine 

Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd. 

It was that fatal and perfidious bark, 

Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark, 

That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. 

Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, 

His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, 

Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 

Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe. 20 

" Ah ! who hath reft," quoth he, " my dearest pledge ?* 

Last came and last did go. 21 

The pilot of the Galilean lake ; 

Two massy keys he bore of metals twain 

(The golden opes, and iron shuts amain), 

He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake : 

" How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain,'"* 

" Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake 

" Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold ? 

" Of other cares they little reckoning make, 

" Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, 

" And shove away the worthy bidden guest; 

" Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to hold 

" A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least 

" That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ! 

" What recks it them? What need they ? They are sped ; 

" And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs 

" Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw; 

" The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed; 

" But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw, 

" Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread ; 

" Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw 

" Daily devours apace, and nothing said : 

" But that two-handed engine at the door 

" Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more." 

Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past,'® 
That shrunk thy streams ; return, Sicilian Muse, 
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast 
Their bells, and flowerets, of a thousand hues. 



MILTON. 195 



Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use 

Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, 

On whose fresh lap the swart-star sparely looks : 

Throw hither all your quaint enamelVd eyes, 

That on the green turf suck the honied showers,™ 

And purple all the ground with vernal flowers : 

Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 

The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine, 

The white pink, and the pansy freak' d with jet, 

The glowing violet, 25 

The musk-rose, and the well-attir'd woodbine, 

With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, 

And every flower that sad embroidery wears : 

Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed, 

And daffodillies fill their cups with tears, 

To strow the laureat hearse where Lycid lies ; 

For, so to interpose a little ease, 

Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise. — 

Ay rne ! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas, 

Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd, 

Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, 

Where thou perhaps, under the whelming tide, 

Visifst the bottom of the monstrous world ; 

Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, 

Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, 

Where the great Vision of the guarded Mount 26 

Looks towards Namancos and Bayona's hold ; 

Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth : 

And, 0, ye dolphins ! waft the hapless youth. 

Weep no more, woful Shepherds, weep no more, 
For Lycidae your sorrow is not dead, 
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor ; 
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, 
And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 
And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore 
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky: 
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high, 
Through the dear might of Him that waWd the waves 
Where, other groves and other streams along, 
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, 
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song 
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. 
There entertain him all the saints above, 
In solemn troops and sweet societies, 
That sing, and, singing, in their glory move, 
And wipe the tears for tver from his eyes. 



196 MILTON 



Now Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more ; 
Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore, 
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good 
To all that wander in that perilous flood. 

Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills, 
While the still morn went out with sandals grey , 
He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, 
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay : 
And now the sun had strctch'd out all the hills, 
And now was dropt into the western bay : 
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue : 
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new. 

6 " Without the meed of some melodious tear." — Catullus uses the 
word in a like sense, when alluding to the elegies of Simonides 
in his touching expostulation with his friend, Cornificius, whom 
he requests to come and see him during a time of depression : — 

Paulum quid lubet allocutionis 
Mcestius lacrymis Simonideis. 

Prythee a little talk for ease, for ea»3, 
Sad as the tears of poor Simonides. 

17 << Begin, and somewhat loudly," &c. 
" Hence with denial vain," &c. 

The first of these lines has a poor prosaic effect, like one of 
the inane mixtures of familiarity and assumed importance in the 
" Pindaric" writers of the age. And " hence with denial vain" 
is a very unnecessary piece of harshness towards the poor 
Muses, who surely were not disposed to ill-treat the young 
poet. 

js « Clos'd o'er the head," &c. — The very best image of drowning 
he could have chosen, especially during calm weather, both as 
regards sufferer and spectator. The combined sensations of 
darkness, of liquid enclosure, and of the final interposition of a 
heap of waters between life and the light of day, are those 
which most absorb the faculties of a drowning person. Haud 
insubmersus loquor. 

19 " Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream." — The "iver 
Dee, in Spenser's and Drayton's poetry, and old British history, 
is celebrated for its ominous character and its magicians. 



MILTON. 197 



20 " Sanguine flowW inscribed with wo." — The ancient poetical 
hyacinth, proved, I think, by Professor Martyn, in his Virgil's 
Georgics, to be the turk's-cap lily, the only flower on which 
characters like the Greek exclamation of wo, AI, AI, are to be 
found. The idea in Milton is from Moschus's Elegy on the 
Death of Bion : — 

Nov, vaictvQe, \a\ei ra aa ypafi^iara^ km ir~Ktov at at 
Ba/i/?aAE cois itETaXoioi. 

Now more than ever say, O, hyacinth ! 
Ai, ai ; and babble of your written sorrows. 

21 " Last came and last did go"—" This passage," says Hazlitt, 
" which alludes to the clerical character of Lycidas, has been 
found fault with, as combining the truths of the Christian 
religion with the fiction of the Heathen mythology. I con- 
ceive there is very little foundation for this objection, either 
in good reason or good taste. I will not go so far as to 
defend Camoens, who, in his Lusiad, makes Jupiter send 
Mercury with a dream to propagate the Catholic religion ; 
nor do I know that it is generally proper to introduce the two 
things in the same poem, though I see no objection to it here ; 
but of this I am quite sure, that there is no inconsistency or 
natural repugnance between this poetical and religious faith in 
the same mind. To the understanding, the belief of the one is 
incompatible with that of the other, but, in the imagination, they 
not only may, but do constantly, co-exist. I will venture to go 
farther, and maintain that every classical scholar, however 
orthodox a Christian he may be, is an honest Heathen at heart. 
This requires explanation. Whoever, then, attaches a reality 
to any idea beyond the mere name, has, to a certain extent 
(though not an abstract), an habitual and practical belief in it. 
Now, to any one familiar with the names of the personages of 
the heathen mythology, they convey a positive identity beyond 
the mere name. We refer them to something out of ourselves. 
It is only by an effort of abstraction that we divest ourselves of 
Ihe idea of their reality ; all our involuntary prejudices are on 
their side. This is enough for the poet. They impose on the 



198 MILTON. 



imagination by the attractions of beauty and grandeur. They 
come down to us in sculpture and in song. We have the same 
associations with them as if they had really been : for the be- 
lief of the fiction in ancient times has produced all the same 
effects as the reality could have done. It was a reality to the 
minds of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and through them it is 
reflected to us." — Lectures on the English Poets (Templeman's 
edition), p. 338. 

22 " How well could I have spar'd" &c " He here animadverts," 

says Warton, " to the endowments of the church, at the same time 
insinuating that they were shared by those only who sought the 
emoluments of the sacred office, to the exclusion of a learned 
and conscientious clergy." An old complaint ! Meantime the 
church has continued mild and peaceful. An incalculable 
blessing ! 

23 " Return, Alpheus," &c — How much more sweet and Chris- 
tian Paganism itself sounds, after those threats of religious 
violence ! The " two-handed engine" is supposed to mean the 
axe preparing for poor, weak, violent Laud ! Milton was now 
beginning to feel the sectarian influence of his father; one, 
unfortunately, of a sullen and unpoetical sort. 

24 " Honied showers." — There is an awkwardness of construction 
between this and the preceding line which hurts the beautiful 
idea of the flowers " sucking the honied showers," by seeming to 
attribute the suction to their " eyes." There might, indeed, be 
learned allowance for such an ellipsis ; and we hardly know 
where to find the proper noun substantive or predicate for the 
verb, if it be not so ; but the image is terribly spoilt by it. 

25 " Glowing violet." — Why " glowing ?" The pansy (heart's- 
ease) " freak'd with jet" is exquisite ; equally true to letter and 
spirit. 

20 " The great Vision of the guarded Mount." — This is the Arch- 
angel Michael, the guardian of seamen, sitting on the Mount off 
the coast of Cornwall known by his name, and looking towards 
the coast of Gallicia. It is rather surprising that Milton, with 
his angelical tendencies, did not take the opportunity of saying 
more of him. But the line is a grand one. 



MILTON. 199 



COMUS THE SORCERER. 

Thyrsis tells the Brothers of a Lady, that their Sister has fallen lnt» 
the hands of the Sorcerer Comus, dwelling in a wood. 

Within the navel of this hideous wood, 
Immur'd in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells, 
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, — great Comus, 
Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries ; 
And here to every thirsty wanderer 
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, 
With many murmurs mix'd, whose pleasing poison 
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, 
And the inglorious likeness of a beast 
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage 
Charactered in the face. This have I learnt, 
Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts, 
That brow this bottom-glade : whence, night by night, 
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl, 
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey, 
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate 
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers ; 
Yet have they many baits and guileful spells, 
To inveigle and invite the unwary sense 
Of them that pass unweeting by the way. 
This evening late, by then the chewing flocks 27 
Had ta'en their supper on the savory herb 
Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold, 
I sat me down to watch upon a bank 
With ivy canopied, and interwove 
With flaunting honey-suckle, and began, 
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, 
To meditate my rural minstrelsy, 
Till fancy had her fill ; but, ere a close, 
The wonted roar urns up amidst the woods, 
And fill'd the air with barbarous dissonance ; 
At which I ceas'd, and listen'd them awhile, 
Till an unusual stop of sudden silence 
Gave respite to the drowsy flighted steeds, 
That draw the litter of close-curtained Sleep  
At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound 
Rose like a stream of rich distil Vd perfumei. 



300 MILTON. 



And stole upon the air, that even Silence 

Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might 

Deny her nature, and be never more 

Still to be so displaced. I was all ear, 

And took in strains that might create a soul 

Under the ribs of Death : but ! ere long, 

Too well I did perceive it was the voice 

Of my most honor'd lady, your dear sister. 

Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear, 

And, O poor hapless nightingale, thought I, 

How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare 

Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, 

Through paths and turnings often trod by day ; 

Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place, 

Where that damn'd wizard, hid in sly disguise, 

(For so by certain signs I knew), had met 

Already, ere my best speed could prevent, 

The aidless innocent lady, his wish'd prey ; 

Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, 

Supposing him some neighbor villager. 

Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd 

Ye were the two she meant ; with that I sprung 

Into swift flight, till I had found you here ; 

But further know I not. 

See. Br. O night, and shades I 

How are ye join'd with hell in triple knot 
Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin, 
Alone and helpless ! Is this the confidence 
You gave me, Brother. 1 ' 

Eld. Br. Yes, and keep it still ; 

Lean on it safely ; not a period 
Shall be unsaid for me : against the threats 
Of malice, or of sorcery, or that power 
Which erring men call chance, this I hold firm ;— 
Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt, — 
Surpris'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd; 
Yea, even that, which mischief meant most harm. 
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory ; 
But evil on itself shall back recoil, 
And mix no more with goodness : when at last 
Gathered like scum, and settled to itself, 
It shall be in eternal restless change, 
Self -fed, and self- consumid ; if this fail, 
The pillar 'd firmament is rottenness, 
And earth's base built on stubble. 



MILTON. 201 



w The chewing flocks" &c — " The supper of the sheep," says 
Warton, " is from a beautiful comparison in Spenser, — 

As gentle shepherd, in sweet eventide 

When ruddy Phoebus gins to welk (decline) in west, 

High on a hill, his flock to viewen wide, 

Marks which do bite their hasty supper best." 

Faerie Queene, I., s. 23. 

' ; Chewing flocks" is good, but not equal to " biting their hasty- 
supper. " It is hardly dramatical, too, in the speaker to stop to 
notice the sweetness and dewiness of the sheep's grass, while 
he had a story to tell, and one of agitating interest to his hearers. 



202 COLERIDGE. 



COLERIDGE, 

BORN, 1793 DIED, 1834. 



Coleridge lived in the most extraordinary ani agitated period 
of modern history ; and to a certain extent he was so mixed up 
with its controversies, that he was at one time taken for nothing 
but an apostate republican, and at another for a dreaming theo- 
sophist. The truth is, that both his politics and theosophy were 
at the mercy of a discursive genius, intellectually bold but 
educationally timid, which, anxious, or rather willing, to bring 
conviction and speculation together, mooting all points as it 
went, and throwing the subtlest glancing lights on many, ended 
in satisfying nobody, and concluding nothing. Charles Lamb 
said of him, that he had " the art of making the unintelligible 
appear intelligible." He was the finest dreamer, the most 
eloquent talker, and the most original thinker of the day ; but 
for want of complexional energy, did nothing with all the vast 
prose part of his mind but help the Germans to give a subtler 
tone to criticism, and sow a few valuable seeds of thought in 
minds worthy to receive them. Nine-tenths of his theology 
would apply equally well to their own creeds in the mouths of 
a Brahmin or a Mussulman. 

His poetry is another matter. It is so beautiful, and was so 
quietly content with its beauty, making no call on the critics, 
and receiving hardly any notice, that people are but now begin- 
ning to awake to a full sense of its merits. Of pure poetry, 
strictly so called, that is to say, consisting of nothing but its 
essential self, without conventional and perishing helps, he was 
the greatest master of his time. If you would see it in a phial, 
like a distillation of roses (taking it, I mean, at its best), it would 
be found without a speck. The poet is happy with so good a gift, 



COLERIDGE 203 



and the reader is " happy in his happiness." Yet so little, 
sometimes, are a man's contemporaries and personal acquaint- 
ances able or disposed to estimate him properly, that while 
Coleridge, unlike Shakspeare, lavished praises on his poetic 
friends, he had all the merit of the generosity to himself ; and 
even Hazlitt, owing perhaps to causes of political alienation, 
could see nothing to admire in the exquisite poem of Christabel, 
but the description of the quarrel between the friends ! After 
speaking, too, of the Ancient Mariner as the only one of his po- 
ems that he could point out to any one as giving an adequate 
idea of his great natural powers, he adds, " It is high German, 
however, and in it he seems to conceive of poetry but as a 
drunken dream, reckless, careless, and heedless of past, present, 
and to come." This is said of a poem, with which fault has 
been found for the exceeding conscientiousness of its moral ! O, 
ye critics, the best of ye, what havoc does personal difference 
play with your judgments! It was Mr. Hazlitt's only or most 
unwarrantable censure, or one which friendship found hardest 
to forgive. But peace, and honor too, be with his memory ! 
If he was a splenetic and sometimes jealous man, he was a disin- 
terested politician and an admirable critic : and lucky were 
those whose natures gave them the right and the power to par- 
don him. 

Coleridge, though a born poet, was in his style and general 
musical feeling the disciple partly of Spenser, and partly of the 
fine old English ballad-writers in the collection of Bishop Percy. 
But if he could not improve on them in some things, how he did 
in others, especially in the art of being thoroughly musical ! 
Of all our writers of the briefer narrative poetry, Coleridge is 
the finest since Chaucer; and assuredly he is the sweetest of all 
our poets. Waller's music is but a court-flourish in compari- 
son ; and though Beaumont and Fletcher, Collins, Gray, Keats, 
Shelley, and others, have several as sweet passages, and Spenser 
is in a certain sense musical throughout, yet no man has writ- 
ten whole poems, of equal length, so perfect in the sentiment of 
music, so varied with it, and yet leaving on the ear so unbroken 
and single an effect. 



204 COLERIDGE. 



A damsel with a dulcimer 
In a vision once I saw ; 
It was an Abyssinian maid, 

And on her dulcimer she play'd, 
Singing of Mount Abora. 

That is but one note of a music ever sweet, yet never 
cloying. 

It ceas'd ; yet still the sails made on 

A pleasant noise till noon, 
A noise like of a hidden brook 

In the leafy month of June, 
That to the sleeping woods all night 
Singeth a quiet tune. 

The stanzas of the poem from which this extract is made {The 
Ancient Mariner) generally consist of four lines only ; but see 
how the "brook" has carried him on with it through the silence 
of the night. 

I have said a good deal of the versification of Christabel, in 
the Essay prefixed to this volume, but I cannot help giving a 
further quotation. 

It was a lovely sight to see 
The lady Christabel, when she 
Was praying at the old oak tree. 
Amid the jagged shadows 

Of massy leafless boughs, 
Kneeling in the moonlight 

To make her gentle vows : 
Her slender palms together press'd, 
Heaving sometimes on her breast ; 
Her face resigned to bliss or bale — 
Her face, O call it fair, not pale ! 
And both blue eyes more bright than clear, 
Each about to have a tear. 

All the weeping eyes of Guido were nothing to that. But I 
.shall be quoting the whole poem. I wish I could ; but I fear to 
trespass upon the bookseller's property. One more passage, 
however, I cannot resist. The good Christabel had been under- 
going a trance in the arms of the wicked witch Geraldine : 



COLERIDGE. 205 



A star hath set, a star hath risen, 

O Geraldine ! since arms of thine 
Have been the lovely lady's prison. 

O Geraldine ! one hour was thine — 
Thou hast thy will ! By tarn and rill — 
The night-birds all that hour were still. 



(An appalling fancy) 

But now they are jubilant anew, 

From cliff and tower tu-whoo ! tu-whoo ! 

Tu-whoo ! tu-whoo ! from wood and fell. 

And see ! the lady Christabel 

(This, observe, begins a new paragraph, with a break in the 
rhyme) 

Gathers herself from out her trance ; 
Her limbs relax, her countenance 
Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin lids 
Close o'er her eyes ; and tears she sheds — 
Large tears that leave the lashes bright .' 
And oft the while she seems to smile, 
As infants at a sudden light. 

Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep, 
Like a youthful hermitess 
Beauteous in a wilderness, 

Who praying always, prays in sleep. 
And, if she move unquietly, 
Perchance 't is but the blood so free 
Comes back and tingles in her feet. 
No doubt she hath a vision sweet : 
What if her guardian spirit 't were ? 
What if she knew her mother near ? 
But this she knows, in joys and woes, 

The saints will aid, if men will call, 

For the blue sky bends over all. 

We see how such a poet obtains his music. Such forms of 
melody can proceed only from the most beautiful inner spirit of 
sympathy and imagination. He sympathizes, in his universality, 
with antipathy itself. If Regan or Goneril had been a young 
and handsome witch of the times of chivalry, and attuned her 



205 COLERIDGE. 



violence to craft, or betrayed it in venomous looks, she could 
not have beaten the soft- voiced, appalling spells, or sudden, snake- 
eyed glances of the lady Geraldine, — looks which the innocent 
Christabel, in her fascination, feels compelled to " imitate." 

A snake's small eye blinks dull and shy, 
And the lady's eyes they shrank in her head, 
Each shrank up to a serpent's eye ; 
And with somewhat of malice and more of dread, 
At Christabel she look'd askance. 
***** 

The maid devoid of guile and sin 

I know not how, in fearful wise, 

So deeply had she drunken in 

That look, those shrunken serpent eyes, 

That all her features were resign'd 

To this sole image in her mind, 

And passively did imitate 

That look of dull and treacherous hate. 

This is as exquisite in its knowledge of the fascinating ten- 
dencies of fear as it is in its description. And what can surpass 
a line quoted already in the Essay (but I must quote it again !) 
for very perfection of grace and sentiment ? — the line in the 
passage where Christabel is going to bed, before she is aware 
that her visitor is a witch. 

Quoth Christabel,— So let it be ! 
And as the lady bade, did she. 
Her gentle limbs did she undress, 
And lay down in her loveliness. 

Oh ! it is too kite now ; and habit and self-love blinded me at 
the time, and I did not know (much as I admired him) how great 
a poet lived in that grove at Highgate ; or I would have cultivat- 
ed its walks more, as I might have done, and endeavored to return 
him, with my gratitude, a small portion of the delight his verses 
have given me. 

I must add, that I do not think Coleridge's earlier poems at all 
equal to the rest. Many, indeed, I do not care to read a second 
time ; but there are some ten or a dozen, of which I never tire, 
and which will one day make a small and precious volume to 



COLERIDGE 207 



put in the pockets of all enthusiasts in poetry, and endure with 
the language. Five of these are The Ancient Mariner, Christa- 
bel, Kubla Khan, Genevieve, and Youth and Age. Some, that 
more personally relate to the poet, will be added for the love of 
him, not omitting the Visit of the Gods, from Schiller, and the 
famous passage on the Heathen Mythology, also from Schiller. 
A short life, a portrait, and some other engravings perhaps, will 
complete the book, after the good old fashion of Cooke's and 
Bell's editions of the Poets ; and then, like the contents of the Jew 
of Malta's casket, there will be 

Infinite riches in a little room. 



LOVE ; OR, GENEVIEVE. 

All thoughts, all passions, all delights, 
Whatever stirs this mortal frame, 

Are all but ministers of Love, 
And feed his sacred flame. 

Oft in my waking dreams do I 
Live o'er again that happy hour, 

When midway on the mount I lay, 
Beside the ruin'd tower. 

The moonlight stealing o'er the scene, 
Had blended with the lights of eve ; 

And she was there, my hope, my joy, 
My own dear Genevieve ! 

She leant against the armed man, 
The statue of the armed knight ; 

She stood and listen'd to my lay, 
Amid the lingering light. 

Few sorrows hath she of her own, 
My hope! my joy .' my Genevieve 

She loves me best whene'er J sing 
The songs that make her grieve. 



208 COLERIDGE. 



I play'd a soft and doleful air, 
I sang an old and moving story — 

An old rude song, that suited well 
That ruin wild and hoary. 

She listen'd with a flitting blush, 

With downcast eyes and modest grace, 

For well she knew I could not choose 
But gaze upon her face. 

I told her of the knight that wore 
Upon his shield a burning brand ; 

And that for ten long years he woo'd 
The lady of the land. 

I told her how he pin' d, and — ah ! 

The deep, the low, the pleading tone 
With which I sang another's love, 

Interpreted my own. 

She listen'd with a flitting blush, 

With downcast eyes and modest grace, 

And she forgave me, that I gaz'd 
Too fondly on her face ! 

But when I told the cruel scorn 

That crazed that bold and lovely knight, 
And that he cross'd the mountain-woods, 

Nor rested day nor night : 

That sometimes from the savage den, 
And sometimes from the darksome shade, 

And sometimes starting up at once 
In green and sunny glade, 

There came and look'd him in the face 
An angel beautiful and bright ; 

And that he knew it was a fiend, 
This miserable knight! 

And that, unknowing what he did, 
He leap'd amid a murderous band, 

And sav'd from outrage worse than death 
The lady of the land ! 

And how she wept and claspt his knees ; 
And how she tended him in vain — 



COLERIDGE. 209 



And ever strove to expiate 

The scorn that crazed his brain ; 

And that she m'rs'd him in a cave ; 

*...« now his madness went away, 
When on the yellow forest leaves 

A dying man he lay. 

His dying words — but when I reach'd 
That tenderest strain of all the ditty, 

My faltering voice and pausing harp 
Disturb'd her soul with pity. 

All impulses of soul and sense 

Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve ; 

The music and the doleful tale, 
The rich and balmy eve ; 

And hopes, and fears that kindle hope, 
An undistinguishable throng, 

And gentle wishes long subdued, 
Subdued and cherished long. 

She wept with pity and delight, 
* She blush'd with love and virgin shame , 
And like the murmur of a dream, 
I heard her breathe my name. 

Her bosom heav'd — she stept aside, 
As conscious of my look she stept 

Then suddenly, with timorous eye, 
She fled to me and wept. 

She half enclos'd me in her arms, 
^phe press'd me with a meek embrace : 

And bending back her head, looted up, 
And gazed upon my face. 

' Twas partly love and partly fear, 
And partly 't was a bashful art 

That Imight rather feel than see, 
The swelling of her heart. 

1 calm'd her fears, and she was calm, 
And told her love with virgin pride, 
15 



i.j COLERIDGE 



And so I won my Genevieve, 
My own, my beauteous bride ! 

I can hardly say a word upon this poem for very admiration. 
I must observe, however, that one of the charms of it consists 
in the numerous repetitions and revolvings of the words, one on 
the other, as if taking delight in their own beauty. 



KUBLA KUAN. 

SUGGESTED TO THE AUTHOR BY A PASSAGE IN PURCHAs's PILGRIMAGE. 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan' 

A stately pleasure-dome decree, 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man, 

Down to a sunless sea. 

So twice five miles of fertile ground 
With walls and towers were girdled round ; 
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills* 
Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree ; 
And here were forests ancient as the hills, 
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery. 

But oh, that deep romantic chasm which slanted 

Down the green hill, athwart a cedarn cover ! 

A savage place! as holy and enchanted 

As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted 

By woman wailing for her demon-lover ! 

And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, 

As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, 

A mighty fountain mor ptly was forc'd: 

Amid whose swift half-mfcei^iitted burst 

Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, 

Or chaffy grain beneath the thrasher's flail : 

And 'mid these dancing rocks, at once and ever, 

It flung up momently the sacred river. 

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion, 

Through wood and dale the sacred river ran, 

Then reach'd the caverns measureless to man, 

And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean: 



COLERIDGE. 211 



And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far 
Ancestral voices prophesying war. 2 
The shadow of the dome of pleasure 
Floated midway on the waves ; 
Where was heard the mingled measure 
From the fountain and the caves. 
It was a miracle of rare device, 
A sunny pleasure-dome, with caves of ice ! 
A damsel with a dulcimer 
In a vision once I saw: 
It was an Abyssinian maid, 
And on her dulcimer she play'd, 
Singing of Mount Abora. 
Could I revive within me 
Her symphony and song, 
To such a deep delight 't would win me, 
That with music loud and long, 
I would build that dome in air, 
That sunny dome ! those caves of ice! 
And all who heard should see them there, 
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware ! 
His flashing eyes, his floating hair ! 
Weave a circle round him thrice, 
And close your eyes with holy dread, 
For he on honey-dew hath fed, 
And drunk the milk of Paradise. 

» " In Xanadu." — I think I recollect a variation of this stanza, 
as follows: — 

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan 

A stately pleasure-house ordain, 
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran 
Through caverns measureless to man, 

Down to a sunless main. 

The nice-eared poet probably thought there were too many 
ns in these rhymes ; and man and main are certainly not the best 
neighbors : yet there is such an open, sounding, and stately into* 
nation in the words pleasure-house ordain, and it is so superior 
to pleasure-dome decree, that I am not sure I would not give up 
the correctness of the other terminations to retain it. 

But what a grand flood is this, flowing down through measure- 
less caverns to a sea without a sun ! I know no other sea equal 



212 COLERIDGE. 



to it, except Keats's, in his Ode to a Nightingale ; and none can 
surpass that. 

2 " Ancestral voices prophesying war."— Was ever anything more 
wild, and remote, and majestic, than this fiction of the " ances- 
tral voices?" Methinks I hear them, out of the blackness of 
the past. 



YOUTH AND AGE. 

Verse, a breeze 'mid blossoms straying, 
Where hope clung feeding like a bee — 
Both were mine ! Life went a-Maying 
With Nature, Hope, and Poesy, 
When I was young ! 

When I was young ? Ah, woful when! 
Ah, for the change 'twixt now and then ! 
This breathing house not built with hands, 
This body that does me grievous wrong, 
O'er aery cliffs and glittering sands, 
How lightly then itflasKd along! — 
Like those trim skiffs, unknown of yore, 
On winding lakes and rivers wide, 
That ask no aid of sail or oar, 
That fear no spite of wind or tide ! 
Naught cared this body for wind or weather, 
When youth and I lived in 't together. 

Flowers are lovely ; Love is flower-like: 
Friendship is a sheltering tree ; 
O the joys that came down shower-like, 
Of Friendship, Love, and Liberty, 
Ere I was old ! 

Ere J was old ? Ah, woful ere ! 
Which tells me Youth's no longer here ! 
Youth ! for years so many and sweet, 
'T is known, that thou and 1 were one ; 
I'll think it but a fond deceit — 
It cannot be that thou art gone ! 
Thy vesper-bell hath not yet toll'd, 



COLERIDGE. 21S 



And thou wert aye a masker bold ! 
What strange disguise hast now put on, 
To make believe that thou art gone ? 
I see these locks in silvery slips, 
This drooping gait, this alter d size ; 
But springtide blossoms on thy lips, 
And tears take sunshine from thine eyes ! 
Life is but thought ; so think I will, 
That Youth and I are house-mates still. 

This is one of the most perfect poems, for style, feeling, and 
everything, that ever were written. 



THE HEATHEN DIVINITIES MERGED INTO ASTROLOGY. 

FROM THE TRANSLATION OF SCHILLER'S FICCOLOMINI. 

— Fable is Love's world, his home, his birthplace: 

Delightedly dwells he 'mong fays and talismans, 

And spirits ; and delightedly believes 

Divinities, being himself divine. 

The intelligible forms of ancient poets, 

The fair humanities of old religion, 

The power, the beauty, and the majesty, 

That had her haunts in dale, or piny mountain, 

Or forest by slow stream, or pebbly spring, 

Or chasms and wat'ry depths ; all these have vanish'd , 

They live no longer in the faith of reason ; 

But still the heart doth need a language ; still 

Doth the old instinct bring back the old names ; 

And to yon starry world they now are gone, 

Spirits or gods, that used to share this earth 

With man as with their friend ; and to the lover 

Yonder they move ; from yonder visible sky 

Shoot influence down : and even at this day 

' T is Jupiter who brings whatever is great, 

And Venus who brings everything that 'sfatr 



214 COLERIDGE. 



WORK WITHOUT HOPE. 

LINES COMPOSED 21sT FEBRUARY, 1827. 

All Nature seems at work. Stags leave their lair— 

The bees are stirring — birds are on the wing — 
And Winter, slumbering in the open air, 

Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring ! 
And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing, 
Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing. 
Yet well I ken the banko where amaranths blow, 
Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow. 
Bloom, O ye amaranths ! bloom for whom ye may; 
For me ye bloom not ! Glide, rich streams, away ! 
With lips unbrighten'd, wreathless brow, I stroll : 
And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul ! 
Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, 
And hope without an object cannot live. 

I insert this poem on account of the exquisite imaginative 
picture in the third and fourth lines, and the terseness and melo- 
dy of the whole. Here we have a specimen of a perfect style, — 
unsuperfluous, straightforward, suggestive, impulsive, and se- 
rene. But how the writer of such verses could talk of " work 
without hope," I cannot say. What work had he better to do 
than to write more 1 and what hope but to write more still, and 
delight himself and the world ? But the truth is, his mind was 
too active and self-involved to need the diversion of work ; and 
his body, the case that contained it, too sluggish with sedentary 
living to like it ; and so he persuaded himself that if his writ- 
ings did not sell, they were of no use. Are we to disrespect 
these self-delusions in such a man ? No; but to draw from them 
salutary cautions for ourselves, — his inferiors. 



SHELLEY. 215 



SHELLEY, 

BORN, 1792, DIED, 1822. 



Among the many reasons which his friends had to deplore the 
premature death of this splendid poet and noble-hearted man, 
the greatest was his not being able to repeat, to a more attentive 
public, his own protest, not only against some of his earlier 
effusions (which he did in the newspapers), but against all which 
he had written in a wailing and angry, instead of an invaria- 
bly calm, loving, and therefore thoroughly helping spirit. His 
works, in justice to himself, require either to be winnowed from 
what he disliked, or to be read with the remembrance of that 
dislike. He had sensibility almost unique, seemingly fitter for a 
planet of a different sort, or in more final condition, than ours : 
he has said of himself, — so delicate was his organization, — that 
he could 

" Hardly bear 
The weight of the superincumbent hour ;" 

and the impatience which he vented for some years against that 
rough working towards good, called evil, and which he carried 
out into conduct too hasty, subjected one of the most naturally 
pious of men to charges which hurt his name, and thwarted his 
philanthropy. Had he lived, he would have done away all 
mistake on these points, and made everybody know him for 
what he was, — a man idolized by his frie'Hs, — studious, tempe- 
rate, of the gentlest life and conversation, and willing to have 
died to do the world a service. For my part, I never can men- 
tion his name without a transport of love and gratitude. I 
rejoice to have partaken of his cares, and to be both suffering 
and benefiting from him at this moment ; and whenever I think 
of a future state, and of the great and good Spirit that must 



216 SHELLEY. 



pervade it, one of the first faces I humbly hope to see there, is 
that of the kind and impassioned man, whose intercourse conferred 
on me the title of the Friend of Shelley. 

The finest poetry of Shelley is so mixed up with moral and po- 
litical speculation, that I found it impossible to give more than the 
following extracts, in accordance with the purely poetical de- 
sign of the present volume. Of the poetry of reflection and tra- 
gic pathos, he has abundance ; but even such fanciful produc- 
tions as the Sensitive Plant and the Witch of Atlas are full of 
metaphysics, and would require a commentary of explanation. 
The short pieces and passages, however, before us, are so beau- 
tiful, that they may well stand as the representatives of the whole 
powers of his mind in the region of pure poetry. In sweetness 
(and not even there in passages) the Ode to the Skylark is infe- 
rior only to Coleridge, — in rapturous passion to no man. It is 
like the bird it sings, — enthusiastic, enchanting, profuse, contin- 
uous, and alone, — small, but filling the heavens. One of the 
triumphs of poetry is to associate its remembrance with the beau- 
ties of nature. There are probably no lovers of Homer and 
Shakspeare, who, when looking at the moon, do not often call to 
mind the descriptions in the eighth book of the Iliad and the fifth 
act of the Merchant of Venice. The nightingale (in England) 
may be said to have belonged exclusively to Milton (see page 
178), till a dying young poet of our own day partook of the 
honor by the production of his exquisite Ode : and notwithstand- 
ing Shakspeare's lark singing " at heaven's gate," the longer 
effusion of Shelley will be identified with thoughts of the bird 
hereafter, in the minds of all who are susceptible of its beauty. 
What a pity he did not live to produce a hundred such ; or to 
mingle briefer lyrics, as beautiful as Shakspeare's, with trage- 
dies which Shakspeare himself might have welcomed ! for as- 
suredly, had he lived, he would have been the greatest dramatic 
writer since the days of Elizabeth, if indeed he has not abun- 
dantly proved himself such in his tragedy of the Cenci. Unfor- 
tunately, in his indignation against every conceivable form of 
oppression, he took a subject for that play too much resembling 
one which Shakspeare had taken in his youth, and still more 
unsuitable to the stage ; otherwise, besides grandeur and terror 



SHELLEY. 217 



there are things in it lovely as heart can worship; and the au- 
thor showed himself able to draw both men and women, whose 
names would have been " familiar in our mouths as household 
words." The utmost might of gentleness, and of the sweet 
habitudes of domestic affection, was never more balmily im- 
pressed through the tears of the reader, than in the unique and 
divine close of that dreadful tragedy. Its loveliness, being that 
of the highest reason, is superior to the madness of all the crime 
that has preceded it, and leaves nature in a state of reconcile- 
ment with her ordinary course. The daughter, who is going 
forth with her mother to execution, utters these final words : — 

Give yourself no unnecessary pain, 

My dear Lord Cardinal. Here, mother, tie 

My girdle for me, and bind up this hair 

In any simple knot. Ay, that does well ; 

And yours, I sec is coming down. How often 

Have we done this for one another ! now 

We shall not do it any more. My Lord, 

We are quite ready, Well, — 't is very well. 

The force of simplicity and moral sweetness cannot go fur- 
ther than this. But in general, if Coleridge is the sweetest of 
our poets, Shelley is at once the most ethereal and most gor- 
geous ; the one who has clothed his thoughts in draperies of the 
most evanescent and most magnificent words and imagery. Not 
Milton himself is more learned in Grecisms, or nicer in etymolo- 
gical propriety ; and nobody, throughout, has a style so Orphic 
and primaeval. His poetry is as full of mountains, seas, and skies, 
of light, and darkness, and the seasons, and all the elements of 
our being, as if Nature herself had written it, with the creation 
and its hopes newly cast around her ; not, it must be confessed, 
without too indiscriminate a mixture of great and small, and a 
want of sufficient shade, — a certain chaotic brilliancy, " darK 
with excess of light." Shelley (in the verses to a Lady with a 
Guitar) might well call himself Ariel. AH the more enjoying 
part of his poetry is Ariel, — the " delicate" yet powerful "spi- 
rit," jealous of restraint, yet able to serve ; living in the ele- 
ments and the flowers ; treading the " ooze of the salt deep," and 
running "on the sharp wind of the north;" feeling for creatures 



218 SHELLEY. 



unlike himself; " flaming amazement" on them too, and singing 
exquisitest songs. Alas ! and he suffered for years, as Ariel 
did in the cloven pine : but now he is out of it, and serving the 
purposes of Beneficence with a calmness befitting his knowledge 
and his love. 



TO A SKYLAHK. 



Hail to thee, blithe spirit ! 

Bird thou never wert, 
That from heaven, or near it, 

Pourest thy full heart, 
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.' 



Higher still and higher 

From the earth thou springest, 
Like a cloud of fire ! 

The blue deep thou wingest, 
And singing, still dost soar : and soaring, ever singest 

in. 

In the golden lightning 

Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are brightening, 
Thou dost float and run ; 
Like an embodied joy, whose race has just begun 



The pale purple even 

Melts round thy flight ; 
Like a star of heaven 

In the broad day-light 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight. 



Keen as are the arrows 
Of that silver sphere 
Whose intense lamp narrows 
In the white dawn clear, 
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there. 



SHELLEY. 219 

VI. 

All the earth and air 

With thy voice is loud 
As, when night is bare, 

From one lonely cloud 
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed. 



What thou art we know not. 

What is most like thee ? 
From rainbow clouds there flow not 
Drops so bright to see, 
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody 



Like a poet hidden 

In the light of thought, 
Singing hymns unbidden, 
Till the world is wrought 
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not. 



Like a high-born maiden 2 

In a palace tower, 
Soothing her love-laden 
Soul in secret hour 
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower. 



Like a glow-worm golden 

In a dell of dew, 
Scattering unbeholden 
Its adrial hue 
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view. 

XI. 

Like a rose embowered 

In its own green leaves, 
By warm winds deflowered 
Till the scent it gives 
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves 



Sound of vernal showers 
On the twinkling grass, 



220 SHELLEY. 



Rain-awakened flowers, 
All that ever was 
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass 

zm. 

Teach me, sprite or bird, 

What sweet thoughts are thine : 
i aave never heard 

Praise of love or wine 
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine. 

XIV. 

Chorus hymeneal, 

Or triumphal chaunt, 
Match'd with thine would be all 

But an empty vaunt — 
A thin? wherein we feel there is some hidden want. 



What objects are the fountains 

Of thy happy strain 1 
What fields, or waves, or mountains ? 
What shapes of sky or plain ? 
What love of thine own kind 1 What ignorance of pain "> 



With thy clear keen joyance 

Languor cannot be : 
Shadow of annoyance 
Never came near thee : 
Thou lovest ; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety 



Waking or asleep, 

Thou of death must deem 
Things more true and deep 
Than we mortals dream, 
Or how could thy note flow in such a crystal stream ? 



We look before and after, 

And pine for what is not ; 
Our sincerest laughter 

With some pain is fraught : 
Our sweetest songs are those which tell of saddest thought. 



SHELLEY. 221 



Yet if we could scorn 

Hate and pride and fear ; 
If we were things born 

Not to shed a tear, 
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near. 

xx. 

Better than all measures 

Of delightful sound, 
Better than all treasures 
That in books are found, 
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground! 3 

xxi. 

Teach me half the gladness, 

That thy brain must know; 
Such harmonious madness 
From my lips would flow, 
The world should listen then, as I am listening now 

" In the spring of 1820," says Mrs. Shelley, " we spent a wee* 
or two near Leghorn, borrowing the house of some friends, who 
were absent on a journey to England. It was on a beautiful 
summer evening, while wandering among the lanes where myrtle 
hedges were the bowers of the fire-flies, that we heard the carolling 
of the skylark, which inspired one of the most beautiful of his po- 
ems." — Moxon's edition of 1840, p. 278. 

Shelley chose the measure of this poem with great felicity. 
The earnest hurry of the four short lines, followed by the long 
effusiveness of the Alexandrine, expresses the eagerness and 
continuity of the lark. There is a luxury of the latter kind in 
Shakspeare's song, produced by the reduplication of the 
rhymes : — 

Hark ! hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings, 

And Phoebus 'gins arise 
His steeds to water at those springs 

On chalic'd flowers that lies : 
And winking mary-buds begin 

To ope their golden eyes : 
With everything that pretty bin, 

!\1 y lady sweet, arise. 



222 SHELLEY. 



" Chalic'd flowers that lies," is an ungrammatical license in 
use with the most scholarly writers of the time ; and, to say the 
truth, it was a slovenly one ; though there is all the difference 
in the world between the license of power and that of poverty. 

1 " In profuse strains of unpremeditated art." — Durirjo - the preva- 
lence of the unimaginative and unmusical poetry of the last cen- 
tury, it was thought an Alexandrine should always be cut in 
halves, for the greater sweetness ; that is to say, monotony. 
The truth is, the pause may be thrown anywhere, or even en- 
tirely omitted, as in the unhesitating and characteristic instance 
before us. See also the eighth stanza. The Alexandrines 
throughout the poem evince the nicest musical feeling. 

2 Like a high-born maiden 
In a palace tower. 

Mark the accents on the word " love-laden," so beautifully 
carrying on the stress into the next line — 

Soothing her Ibve-laden 
Sdul in secret hour. 

The music of the whole stanza is of the loveliest sweetness ; of 
energy in the midst of softness ; of dulcitude and variety. Not 
a sound of a vowel in the quatrain resembles that of another, 
except in the rhymes ; while the very sameness cr repetition of 
the sounds in the Alexandrine intimates the revolvement and 
continuity of the music which the lady is playing. Observe, 
for instance (for nothing is too minute to dwell upon in such 
beauty), the contrast of the i and o in "high-born ;" the diffe- 
rence of the a in " maiden" from that in " palace ;" the strong 
opposition of maiden to tower (making the rhyme more vigorous 
in proportion to the general softness) ; then the new differences 
in soothing, Zoue-laden, soul, and secret, all diverse from one 
another, and from the whole strain ; and finally, the strain it- 
self, winding up in the Alexandrine with a cadence of particular 
repetitions, which constitutes nevertheless a new difference on 
that account, and by the prolongation of the tone. 



SHELLEY. 223 



" It gives a very echo to the seat 
Where love is throned." 

There is another passage of Shakspeare which it more particu- 
larly calls to mind ; — the 

Ditties highly penn'd, 
Sung by a fair queen in a summer bower, 
With ravishing division to her lute. 

But as Shakspeare was not writing lyrically in this passage, 
nor desirous to fill it with so much love and sentiment, it is no 
irreverence to say that the modern excels it. The music is car- 
ried on into the first two lines of the next stanza : — 

Like a glow-worm golden 
In a dell of dew ; 

a melody as happy in its alliteration as in what may be termed 
its counterpoint. And the coloring of this stanza is as beautiful 
as the music. 

3 " Thou scornerof the ground."— A most noble and emphatic close 
of the stanza. Not that the lark, in any vulgar sense of the 
word, " scorns" the ground, for he dwells upon it : but that, like 
the poet, nobody can take leave of common-place-s with more 
heavenly triumph. 



A GARISH DAY. 

(SAID BY A POTENT RUFFIAN.) 

The all-beholding sun yet shines ; I hear 

A busy stir of men about the streets ; 

I see the bright sky through the window-panes ; 

It is a garish, broad, and peering day ; 

Loud, light, suspicious, full of eyes and ears ; 

And every little corner, nook, and hole, 

Is penetrated with the insolent light. 

Come, darkness ! 



224 SHELLEY. 



CONTEMPLATION OF VIOLENCE. 

(by a man not bad.) 

Spare me now. 
I am as one lost in a midnight wood, 
Who dares not ask some harmless passenger 
The path across the wilderness, lest he, 
As my thoughts are, should be a murderer 



A ROCK AND A CHASM. 

I remember, 
Two miles on this side of the fort, the road 
Crosses a deep ravine : 't is rough and narrow> 
And winds with short turns down the precipice ; 
j. nd in its depth there is a mighty rock, 
Wi.ich has, from unimaginable years, 
Sustain d itself with terror and with toil 
Over a gulf, and ivilh the agony 
With which it clings seems slowly coming down; 
Even as a wretched soul, hour after hour, 
Clings to the mass of life; yet clinging, leans, 
And, leaning, makes more dark the dread abyss 
In which it fears to fall. Beneath this crag, 
Huge as despair, as if in weariness, 
The melancholy mountain yawns. Below 
You hear, but see not, an impetuous torrent 
Raging among the caverns : and a bridge 
Crosses the chasm ; and high above these grow, 
With intersecting trunks, from crag to crag, 
Cedars, and yews, and pines ; whose tangled hair 
Is matted in one solid roof of shad^ 
By the dark ivy's twine. At noon-day here 
' Tis twilight, and at sunset blackest night 



SHELLEY. 225 



LOVELINESS INEXPRESSIBLE. 

Sweet lamp ! my moth-like muse has burnt its wings ; 

Or, like a dying swan who soars and sings, 

Young Love should teach Time in his own grey style 

All that thou art. Art thou not void of guile ? 

A lovely soul form'd to be blest and bless ? 

A well of seal'd and secret happiness, 

Whose waters like blithe light and music are, 

Vanquishing dissonance and gloom ? — a star 

Which moves not in the moving heavens, alone ? 

A smile amid dark frowns ? — a gentle tone 

Amid rude voices ? — a beloved sight ? 

A Solitude, a Refuge, a Delight ? 

A lute, which those whom love has taught to play, 

Make music on, to soothe the roughest day, 

And lull fond grief asleep ? — a buried treasure ? 

A cradle of young thoughts of wingless pleasure ? 

A violet-shrouded grave of wo ? I measure 

The world of fancies, seeking one like thee, 

And find — alas ! mine own infirmity. 



EXISTENCE IN SPACE. 

Life, like a dome of many-colored glass, 
Stains the white radiance of eternity. 



DEVOTEDNESS UNREQUIRING. 

One word is too often profaned 

For me to profane it ; 
One feeling too falsely disdain' d 

For thee to disdain it. 
One hope is too like despair 

For prudence to smother, 
16 



226 SHELLEY. 



And pity from thee more clear 
Than that from another. 

I can give not what men call love ; 

But wilt thou accept not 
The worship the heart lifts above, 

And the Heaven's reject not ? 
The desire of the moth for the star 

Of the night for the morrow ; 
The devotion to something afar 

From the sphere of our sorrow. 



TO A LADY WITH A GUITAR. 

Ariel to Miranda : — Take 

This slave of music, for the sake 

Of him who is the slave of thee ; 

And teach it all the harmony 

In which thou canst, and only thou, 

Make the delighted spirit glow, 

Till joy denies itself again, 

And, too intense, is turned to pain. 

For by permission and command 

Of thine own Prince Ferdinand, 

Poor Ariel sends this silent token 

Of more than ever can be spoken : 

Your guadian spirit, Ariel, who 

From life to life must still pursue 

Your happiness, for thus alone 

Can Ariel ever find his own : 

From Prospero's enchanted cell, 

As the mighty verses tell, 

To the throne of Naples he 

Lit you o'er the trackless sea, 

Flitting on, your prow before, 

Like a living meteor : 

When you die, the silent moon 

In her interlunar swoon, 

Is not sadder in her cell 

Than deserted Ariel : 

When you live again on earth, 

Like an unseen star of birth, 



SHELLEY. 227 



Ariel guides you o'er the sea 

Of life from your nativity. 

Many changes have been run, 

Since Ferdinand ana you begun 

Your course of love, and Ariel still 

Has track'd your steps and serv'd your will. 

Now in humbler, happier lot, 

This is all remember d not ; 

And now, alas ! the poor sprite is 

Imprisoned for some fault of his 

In a body like a grave. 

From you, he only dares to crave, 

For his service and his sorrow, 

A smile to-day — a song to-morrow. 

The artist who this idol wrought, 

To echo all harmonious thought, 

FelPd a tree, while on the steep 

The woods were in their winter sleep, 

Mock'd in that repose divine 

On the wind-swept Appenine : 

And dreaming, some of autumn past, 

And some of spring approaching fast, 

And some of April buds and showers, 

And some of songs in July bowers, 

And all of love : and so this tree — 

O that such our death may be ! — 

Died in sleep, and felt no pain, 

To live in happier form again : 

From which, beneath Heaven's fairest star, 

The artist wrought this lov'd Guitar, 

And taught it justly to reply 

To all who question skilfully, 

In language gentle as thine own; 

Whispering in enamor'd tone 

Sweet oracles of woods and dells, 

And summer winds in sylvan cells ; 

For it had learnt all harmonies 

Of the plains and of the skies, 

Of the forest and the mountains, 

And the many-voiced fountains, 

The clearest echoes of the hills, 

The softest notes of falling rills, 

The melodies of birds and bees, 

The murmuring of summer seas, 

And pattering rain, and breathing dew, 



228 SHELLEY. 



And airs of evening ; and it knew 
That seldom-heard mysterious sound. 
Which, driven on its diurnal round, 
As it floats through boundless day, 
Our world enkindles on its way : — 
All this it knows, but will not tell 
To those who cannot question well 
The spirit that inhabits it ; 
It talks according to the wit 
Of its companions : and no more 
Is heard than has been felt before, 
By those who tempt it to betray 
These secrets of an elder day. 
But, sweetly as its answers will 
Flatter hands of perfect skill, 
It keeps its highest, holiest tone 
For our beloved friend alone. 

This is a Catullian melody of the first water. The transform- 
ation of the dreaming wood of the tree into a guitar was proba- 
bly suggested by Catullus's Dedication of the Galley, — a poem 
with which I know he was conversant, and which was particu- 
larly calculated to please him ; for it records the consecration 
of a favorite old sea-boat to the Dioscuri. The modern poet's 
imagination beats the ancient ; but Catullus equals him in 
graceful flow ; and there is one very Shelleian passage in the 
original : — 

Ubi iste, post phaselus, antea fuit 
Comata silva : nam Cytorio in jugo 
Loquente saepe sibilum edidit coma. 

For of old, what now you see 

A galley, was a leafy tree 

On the Cytorian heights, and there 

Talk'd to the wind with whistling hair 



SHELLEY. 229 



MUSIC, MEMORY, AND LOVE. 

TO . 

Music, when soft voices die, 1 

Vibrates in the memory; 

Odors, when sweet violets sicken, 

Live within the sense they quicken ; 

Rose-leaves, when the rose is dead, 

Are heap'd for the beloved's bed ; 

And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone, 

Love itself shall slumber on. 

i " Music, when soft voices die." — This song is a great favorite 
with musicians : and no wonder. Beaumont and Fletcher never 
wrote anything of the kind more lovely. 



230 KEATS. 



KEATS, 

BORN, 1796, DIED, 1821. 



Keats was a born poet of the most poetical kind. All his feel- 
ings came to him through a poetical medium, or were speedily- 
colored by it. He enjoyed a jest as heartily as any one, and 
sympathized with the lowliest common-place ; but the next 
minute his thoughts were in a garden of enchantment, with 
nymphs, and fauns, and shapes of exalted humanity ; 

Elysian beauty, melancholy grace. 

It might be said of him, that he never beheld an oak-tree with- 
out seeing the Dryad. His fame may now forgive the critics 
who disliked his politics, and did not understand his poetry. 
Repeated editions of him. in England, France, and America, 
attest its triumphant survival of all obloquy ; and there can be 
no doubt that he has taken a permanent station among the Brit- 
ish Poets, of a very high, if not thoroughly mature, description. 
Keats's early poetrj r , indeed, partook plentifully of the exube- 
rance of youth; and even in most of his later, his sensibility, 
sharpened by mortal illness, tended to a morbid excess. His 
region is " a wilderness of sweets," — flowers of all hue, and 
"weeds of glorious feature," — where, as he says, the luxuriant 
soil brings 

The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth 

But there also is the " rain-scented eglantine," and bushes of 
May-flowers, with bees, and myrtle, and bay, — and endless 
paths into forests haunted with the loveliest as well as the gentlest 



KEATS. 23] 



beings ; and the gods live in the distance, amid notes of majestic 
thunder. I do not say that no " surfeit" is ever there ; but I do, 
that there is no end to the " nectared sweets." In what other 
English poet (however superior to him in other respects) are 
you so certain of never opening a page without lighting upon the 
loveliest imagery and the most eloquent expressions 1 Name 
one. Compare any succession of their pages at random, and see 
if the young poet is not sure to present his stock of beauty ; crude 
it may be, in many instances ; too indiscriminate in general ; 
never, perhaps, thoroughly perfect in cultivation ; but there it is, 
exquisite of its kind, and filling envy with despair. He died at 
five-and-twenty ; he had not revised his earlier works, nor given 
his genius its last pruning. His Endymion, in resolving to be 
free from all critical trammels, had no versification ; and his 
last noble fragment, Hyperion, is not faultless, — but it is nearly 
so. The Eve of St. Agnes betrays morbidity only in one in* 
stance (noticed in the comment). Even in his earliest produc- 
tions, which are to be considered as those of youth just emerging 
from boyhood, are to be found passages of as masculine a beauty 
as ever were written. Witness the Sonnet on reading Chap- 
man's Homer, — epical in the splendor and dignity of its images, 
and terminating with the noblest Greek simplicity. Among his 
finished productions, however, of any length, the Eve of St. Ag- 
nes still appears to me the most delightful and complete speci- 
men of his genius. It stands mid-way between his most sensi- 
tive ones (which, though of rare beauty, occasionally sink into 
feebleness) and the less generally characteristic majesty of the 
fragment of Hyperion. Doubtless his greatest poetry is to be 
found in Hyperion ; and had he lived, there is little doubt he 
would have written chiefly in that strain ; rising superior to those 
languishments of love which made the critics so angry, and 
which they might so easily have pardoned at his time of life. 
But the Eve of St. Agnes had already bid most of them adieu, — 
exquisitely loving as it is. It is young, but full-grown poetry 
of the rarest description; graceful as the beardless Apollo; 
slowing and gorgeous with the colors of romance. I have there- 
fore reprinted the whole of it in the present volume, together 
with the comment alluded to in the Preface ; especially as, in 



J32 KEATS. 

\ddition to felicity of treatment, its subject is in every respect a 
happy one, and helps to " paint" this our bower of" poetry with 
delight." Melancholy, it is true, will "break in" when the 
reader thinks of the early death of such a writer ; but it is one of 
the benevolent provisions of nature, that all good things tend to 
pleasure in the recollection ; when the bitterness of their loss :'s 
past, their own sweetness embalms them. 

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever. 

While writing this paragraph, a hand-organ out-of-doors has 
been playing one of the mournfullest and loveliest of the airs of 
Bellini — another genius who died young. The sound of music 
always gives a feeling either of triumph or tenderness to the 
state of mind in which it is heard : in this instance it seemed 
like one departed spirit come to bear testimony of another, and 
to say how true indeed may be the union of sorrowful and sweet 
recollections. 

Keats knew the youthful faults of his poetry as Avell as any 
man, as the reader may see by the preface to Endymion, and 
its touching though manly acknowledgment of them to critical 
candor. I have this moment read it again, after a lapse of 
years, and have been astonished to think how anybody could 
answer such an appeal to the mercy of strength, with the cruelty 
of weakness. All the good for which Mr. Gilford pretended to 
be zealous, he might have effected with pain to no one, and 
glory to himself; and therefore all the evil he mixed with it 
was of his own making. But the secret at the bottom of such 
unprovoked censure is exasperated inferiority. Young poets, 
upon the whole, — at least very young poets, — had better not 
publish at all. They are pretty sure to have faults; and jeal- 
ousy and envy are sure to find them out, and wreak upon them 
their own disappointments. The critic is often an unsuccessful 
author, almost always an inferior one to a man of genius, and 
possesses his sensibility neither to beauty nor to pain. If he 
does, — if by any chance he is a man of genius himself (and 
such things have been), sure and certain will be his regret, some 
day, for having given pains which he might have turned into 



KEATS. 233 



noble pleasures ; and nothing will console him but that very 
charity towards himself, the grace of which can only be secured 
to us by our having denied it to no one. 

Let the student of poetry observe, that in all the luxury of 
the Eve of Saint Agnes there is nothing of the conventional 
craft of artificial writers; no heaping up of words or similes for 
their own sakes or the rhyme's sake ; no gaudy common-places ; 
no borrowed airs of earnestness ; no tricks of inversion ; no 
substitution of reading or of ingenious thoughts for feeling or 
spontaneity ; no irrelevancy or unfitness of any sort. All 
flows out of sincerity and passion. The writer is as much in 
love with the heroine as his hero is ; his description of the 
painted window, however gorgeous, has not an untrue or super- 
fluous word ; and the only speck of a fault in the whole poem 
arises from an excess of emotion. 



THE EVE OF SAINT AGNES. 1 



St. Agnes' Eve — Ah ! bitter chill it was : 
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold ,-2 
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass, 
And silent was the flock in woolly fold ; 
Numb were the beadsman's fingers while he told 
His rosary, and while his frosted breath, 
Like pious incense from a censer old. 
Seem'd taking flight for heaven without a death 
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith 3 



His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man, 
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees, 
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan, 
Along the chapel aisle by slow degr-ees : 
The sculptur'd dead on each side seem'd to freeze, 
Imprison 'd in black, purgatorial rails : 
Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries, 
He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails 
To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails 



234 KEATS. 



Northward he turneth through a little door, 
And scarce three steps, ere music's golden tongue 
Flatter d to tears this aged man and poor : 5 
But no ; already had his death-bell rung : 
The joys of all his life were said and sung : 
His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve : 
Another way he went, and soon among 
Rough ashes sat he, for his soul's reprieve ; 
And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve. 



That ancient beadsman heard the prelude soft ; 
And so it chanc'd (for many a door was wide, 
From hurry to and fro) soon up aloft 

The silver-snarling trumpets 'gan to chide ; 
The level chambers ready with their pride, 
Were glowing to receive a thousand guests : 
And carved angels, ever eager-eyed, 

Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests, 
With hair blown back, and wings 2nd cross-wise on their breasti- 



At length burst in the argent revelry 
With plume, tiara, and all rich array, 
Numerous as shadows haunting fairily 
The brain, new stuff 'd, in youth, with triumphs gay 
Of old romance. These let us wish away, 
And turn, sole-thoughted, to one lady there, 
Whose heart had brooded all that wintry day 
On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care, 
As she had heard old dames full many times declare 



They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve, 
Young virgins might have visions of delight , 
And soft adorings from their loves receive 
Upon the honey' d middle of the night 
If ceremonies due they did aright ; 
As, supperless to bed they must retire, 
And couch supine their beauties, lily white : 
Nor look behind or sideways, but require 
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire. 



KEATS. 235 

vir. 

Full of this whim was youthful Madeline ; 
The music, yearning, like a god in pain, 
She scarcely heard ; her maiden eyes divine, 
Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train 
Pass by, she heeded not at all ; in vain 
Came many a tip-toe amorous cavalier, 
And back retired, not cool'd by high disdain, 
But she saw not ; her heart was otherwhere ; 
She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year. 

VIII. 

She danc'd along with vague, regardless eyes, 
Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short ; 
The hallow'd hour was near at hand : she sighs 
Amid the timbrels and the throng'd resort 
Of whisperers in anger or in sport ; 
'Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn ; 
Hoodwink'd with faery fancy ; all amort, 
Save to St. Agnes and her lambs unshorn, 
And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn. 

IX. 

So, purposing each moment to retire, 
She linger'd still. Meantime across the moors, 
Had come young Porphyro, with heart on fire 
For Madeline. Beside the portal doors 
Buttress'd from moonlight, stands he, and implores 
All saints to give him sight of Madeline, 
But for one moment in the tedious hours, 
That he might gaze and worship all unseen, 
Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss ; — in sooth such things have been 



He ventures in, let no buzz'd whisper tell ; 
All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords 
Will storm his heart, Love's feverous citadel. 
For him those chambers had barbarian hordes, 
Hyaena foemen, and hot-blooded lords, 
Whose very dogs would execrations howl 
Against his lineage. Not one breast affords 
Him any mercy, in that mansion foul, 
Save one old beldame, weak in body and in soul. 



Ah ! happy chance ! the aged creature came 
Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand, 



236 KEATS. 

To where he stood, hid from the torches' light, 
Behind a broad hall pillar, far beyond 
The sound of merriment and chorus bland. 
He startled her ; but soon she knew his face, 
And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand : 
Saying, " Mercy, Porphyro ! hie thee from this place. 
They are all here to-night, the whole blood-thirsty race. 



" Get hence ! get hence ! there's dwarfish Hildebrand, 
He had a fever late, and in the fit 
He cursed thee and thine, both house and land : 
Then there 's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit 
More tame for his grey hairs — Alas, me ! flit; 
Flit like a ghost away."—" Ah, gossip dear, 
We 're safe enough ; here in this arm-chair sit, 
And tell me how—" — " Good Saints ! not here ! not here ' 
Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier !" 

XIII. 

He follow'd through a lowly, arched way, 
Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume ; 
And as she mutter'd, " Well-a-well-a-day !" 
He found him in a little moonlight room,* 
Pale, latticed, chill, and silent as a tomb 
" Now tell me where is Madeline," said he ; 
" Oh, tell me, Angela, by the holy loom 
Which none but secret sisterhood may see, 
When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously." 



" St. Agnes ! Ah ! it is St. Agnes' Eve- 
Yet men will murder upon holidays ; 
Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve, 
And be the liege lord of all elves and fays, 
To venture so : it fills me with amaze 
To see thee, Porphyro ! — St. Agnes' Eve ! 
God's help ! my lady fair the conjuror plays 
This very night : good angels her deceive ! 
But let me laugh awhile ; I 've mickle time to grieve 

xv. 

Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon, 
While Porphyro upon her face doth look, 
Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone, 



KEATS. 237 



Who keepeth clos'd a wondrous riddle-book, 
As spectacled she sits in chimney nook ; 
But soon his eyes grow brilliant, when she told 
His lady's purpose ; and he scarce could brook 
Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold, 7 
Jlnd Madeline asleep in lap of legends old. 



Sudden a thought came, like a full-blown rose, 
Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart 
Made purple riot ; then doth he propose 
A stratagem, that makes the beldame start. 
" A cruel man and impious thou art; 
Sweet lady ! let her pray, and sleep and dream, 
Alone with her good angels far apart 
From wicked men like thee. Go ! go ! I deem 
Thou canst not, surely, be the same that thou dost seem. 



" I will not harm her, by all saints, I swear !" 
Quoth Porphyio; " Oh, may I ne'er find grace, 
When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer, 
If one of her soft ringlets I displace, 
Or look with ruffian passion in her face ! 
Good Angela, believe me, by these tears, 
Or I will, even in a moment's space, 
Awake with horrid shout my foemen's ears, 
And beard them, though they be more fang'd than wolves and oears " 



" Ah ! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul ? 
A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, churchyard thing, 
Whose passing bell may ere the midnight toll ; 
Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening, 
Were never miss'd ?" Thus plaining, doth she bring 
A gentler speech from burning Porphyro, 
So woful and of such deep sorrowing, 
That Angela gives promise she will do 
Whatever he shall wish, betide or weal or wo : 



Which was to lead him in close secrecy 
Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide 
Him in a closet, of such privacy 
That he might see her beauty unespied. 



238 KEATS. 



And win perhaps that night a peerless bride, 
Wliile legion'' d fairies paced the coverlet, 
And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed 
Never on such a night have lovers met, 
Since Merlin paid his demon all the monstrous debt. 8 



" It shall be as thou wishest," said the dame ; 
" All cates and dainties shall be stored there, 
Quickly on this feast-night ; by the tambour frame 
Her own lute thou wilt see : no time to spare, 
For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare, 
On such a catering, trust my dizzy head. 
Wait here, my child, with patience ; kneel in prayer 
The while ; ah ! thou must needs the lady wed ; 
Or may I never leave my grave among the dead !" 



So saying, she hobbled off with busy fear ; 
The lover's endless minute slowly pass'd, 
The dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear 
To follow her, with aged eyes aghast 
From fright of dim espial. Safe at last 
Through many a dusk y gallery, they gain 
The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd and chaste, 
Where Porphyro took covert, pleas'd amain : 
His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain 



Her faltering hand upon the balustrade, 
Old Angela was feeling for the stair, 
When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid, 
Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware ; 
With silver taper-light, and pious care 
She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led 
To a safe level matting. Now prepare, 
Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed ; 
She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled. 

XXIII. 

Out went the taper as she hurried in; 
Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died : 9 
She clos'd the door, she panteth all akin 
To spirits of the air, and visions wide ; 
Nor utter'd syllable, or " Wo betide!" 
But to her heart her heart was voluble, 



KEATS. 241 



Paining with eloquence her balmy side : 
As though a tongueless nightingale should swell 
Her throat in vain, and die heart-stifled in her dell. 



A casement high and triple-arch? d there was, 
All garlanded with carven imageries 
Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, 
And diamonded with panes of quaint device, 
Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes. 
As are the tiger-moth's deep damask' d wings ; 
And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries, 
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, 
A shielded scutcheon blusKd with blood of queens and kings. 10 

xxv. 

Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, 
And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast, 
As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon : 
Rose-bloom fell on her hands together prest, 
And on her silver cross soft amethyst, 
And on her hair a glory like a saint ; 
She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest, 
Save wings for heaven: — Porphyro grew faint — u 
She knelt so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint. 



Anon his heart revives : her vespers done, 
Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees ; 
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one ; 12 
Loosens her fragrant boddice ; by degrees 
Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees : 
Half hidden, like a mermaid in sea-iveed, 
Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees 
In fancy fair St. Agnes in her bed, 
But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled. 



Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest, 
In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay, 
Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd 
Her smoothed limbs, and soul, fatigued away, 
Flown, like a thought, until the morrow day ; 
Blissfully haven d both from joy and pain ; 
Clasp' d like a missal, where swart Paynims pray ; 
Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain, 
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again. 1 * 



24 KEATS. 



Stol'n to this paradise and so entranc'd, 
Porphyro gaz'd upon her empty dress, 
And listen'd to h.er breathing vf it chanc'd 
To wake unto a slumb'rous tenderness : 
Which when he heard, that minute did he bless, 
And breath'd himself; then from the closet crept, 
Noiseless as fear in a wild wilderness, 
And over the hush'd carpet silent stept, 
And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where lo ! how fast she slept. 

Then, by the bedside, where the faded moon 
Made a dim silver twilight, — soft he set 
A table, and, half-anguish'd, threw thereon 
A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet : — 
0, for some drowsy Morphean amulet ! 
The boist'rous, midnight, festive clarion, 
The kettle-drum and far-heard clarionet, 
Affray his ears, though but in dying tone : — 
The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone 

XXX. 

And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep 
In blanched linen, smooth and lavender'd, 
While he from forth the closet brought a heap 
Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd, 
With jellies soother than the creamy curd, 
Jlnd lucent syrups tinct with cinnamon : 14 
Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd 
From Fez ; and spiced dainties every one, 
From silken Samarcand to cedafd Lebanon. 



These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand 
On golden dishes and in baskets bright 
Of wreathed silver ; sumptuously they stand 
In the retired quiet of the night, 
Filling the chilly room with perfume light. 
" And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake ! 
Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite. 
Open thine eyes for meek St. Agnes' sake, 
Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache. 



Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm 
Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream 



KEATS. 241 



By the dusk curtains ; — 'twas a midnight charm 
Impossible to melt as iced stream : 
The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam ; 
Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies ; 
It seem'd he never, never could redeem 
From such a steadfast spell his lady's eyes ; 
So mus'd awhile, entoiPd in woofed fantasies 

XXXIII. 

Awakening up, he took her hollow lute, — 
Tumultuous, — and, in chords that tenderest be, 
He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute, 
In Provence call'd, " La belle dame sans mercy:" 
Close to her ear touching the melody; — 
Wherewith disturb'd she utter'd a soft moan : 
He ceas'd — she panted quick — and suddenly 
Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone : 
Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth sculptured stone 

XXXIV. 

Her eyes were open, but she still beheld, 
Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep ; 
There was a painful change that nigh expell'd 
The blisses of her dream, so pure and deep, 
At which fair Madeline began to weep, 
And moan forth witless words with many a sigh ; 
While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep ; 
Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye, 
Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly 

XXXV. 

" Ah Porphyro !" said she, " but even now 
Thy voice was a sweet tremble in mine ear, 
Made tunable with every sweetest vow ; 
And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear ; 
How chang'd thou art ! how pallid, chill, and drear !— 
Give me that voice again, my Porphyro', 
Those looks immortal, those complainings dear; 
Oh ! leave me not in this eternal wo, 
For if thou diest, my love, I know not where to go " 



Beyond a mortal man impassion' d far 1 * 
At these voluptuous accents he arose, 
Ethereal, flushed, and like a throbbing star 
17 



242 KEATS. 

Seen 'mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose • 
Into her dream he melted, as the rose 
Blendeth its odors with the violet, — 
Solution sweet. Meantime the frost wind blows 
Like love's alarum, pattering the sharp sleet 
Against the window panes : St. Agnes' moon hath set. 



'T is dark ; quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet : 
" This is no dream ; my bride, my Madeline !" 
'Tis dark : the iced gusts still rave and beat. 
" No dream, alas ! alas ! and wo is mine ; 
Porphyro will leave me here to rave and pine ; 
Cruel ! what traitor could thee hither bring ! 
I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine, 
Though thou forsakest a deceived thing ; — 
A dove, forlorn and lost, with sick unpruned wing.' 



" My Madeline, sweet dreamer ! lovely bride ! 
Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest ? 
Thy beauty's shield, heart-shap'd, and vermeil-dyed ? !( * 
Ah ! silver shrine, here will I take my rest, 
After so many hours of toil and quest — 
A famish'd pilgrim, saved by miracle : 
Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest, 
Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well 
To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel. 



" Hark ! 't is an elfin storm from faery land, 
Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed. 
Arise, — arise ! — the morning is at hand ; 
The bloated wassailers will never heed; 
Let us away, my love, with happy speed ; 
There are no ears to. hear, nor eyes to see, — 
Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead : 
Awake ! arise ! my love, and fearless be ; 
For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee." 



She hurried at his words, beset with fears, 
For there were sleeping dragons all around 
At glaring watch, perhaps with ready spears. 
Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found,— 



KEATS. 243 



In all the house was heard no human sound 
Achain-droop'd lamp was nickering by each door; 
The arras, rife with horseman, hawk and hound, 
Flutter'd in the besieging winds' uproar ; 
And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor. 11 

XLI. 

They glide like phantoms into the wide hall ; 
Like phantoms to the inner porch they glide, 
Where lay the porter, in uneasy sprawl, 
With a huge empty flagon by his side ; 
The watchful blood-hound rose, and shook his hide, 
But his sagacious eye an inmate owns : 
By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide : 
The chains lie silent on the foot-worn stones : 
The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans. 



And they are gone ; ay, ages long ago, 
These lovers fled away into the storm. 
That night the Baron dreamt of many a wo, 
And all his warrior guests, with shade and form 
Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm, 
Were long benightmared. Angela the old 
Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform : 
The beadsman, after thousand aves told, 
For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes cold. 

i " The Eve of St. Agnes." — St. Agnes was a Roman virgin, 
who suffered martyrdom- in the reign of Dioclesian. Her 
parents, a few days after her decease, are said to have had a 
vision of her, surrounded by angels and attended by a white 
lamb, which afterwards became sacred to her. In the Catholic 
Church, formerly, the nuns used to bring a couple of lambs to 
her altar during mass. The superstition is (for I believe it is 
still to be found), that, by taking certain measures of divination, 
damsels may get a sight of their future husbands in a dream. 
The ordinary process seems to have been by fasting. Aubrey 
(as quoted in "Brand's Popular Antiquities") mentions another, 
which is, to take a row of pins, and pull them out one by one, 
saying a Paternoster ; after which, upon going to bed, the dream 
is sure to ensue. Brand quotes Ben Jonson : — 



244 KEATS. 



And on sweet St. Agnes' night, 
Pleas'd you with the promis'd sight, 
Some of husbands, some of lovers, 
Which an empty dream discovers. 

2 " The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold." — Could he have se- 
lected an image more warm and comfortable in itself, and, 
therefore, better contradicted by the season 1 We feel the 
plump, feathery bird, in his nook, shivering in spite of his natu- 
ral household warmth, and staring out at the strange weather. 
The hare cringing through the chill grass is very piteous, and 
the " silent flock" very patient; and how quiet and gentle, as 
well as wintry, are all these circumstances, and fit to open a 
quiet and gentle poem ! The breath of the pilgrim, likened to 
" pious incense," completes them, and is a simile in admirable 
" keeping," as the painters call it; that is to say, is thoroughly 
harmonious with itself and all that is going on. The breath of 
the pilgrim is visible, so is that of a censer ; the censer, after its 
fashion, may be said to pray ; and its breath, like the pilgrim's, 
ascends to heaven. Young students of poetry may, in this image 
alone, see what imagination is, under one of its most poetical forms, 
and how thoroughly it "tells." There is no part of it unfitting. 
It is not applicable in one point, and the reverse in another. 

3 "Past the sweet Virgin's picture" &c — What a complete feel- 
ing of winter-time is in this stanza, together with an intimation 
of those Catholic elegances, of which we are to have more in 
the poem ! 

4 " To think how they may ache," &c The germ of the thought, 

or something like it, is in Dante, where he speaks of the figures 
that perform the part of sustaining columns in architecture. Keats 
had read Dante in Mr. Cary's translation, for which he had a 
great respect. He began to read him afterwards in Italian, 
which language he was mastering with surprising quickness. 
A friend of ours has a copy of Ariosto containing admiring 
marks of his pen. But the same thought may have struck one 
poet as well as another. Perhaps there are few that have not 
felt something like it on seeing the figures upon tombs. Here, 
however, for the first time, we believe, in English poetry, it is 
expressed, and with what feeling and elegance ! Most wintry 



KEATS. 245 



as well as penitential is the word " aching " in " icy hoods and 
mails ;" and most felicitous the introduction of the Catholic idea 
in the word "purgatorial." The very color of the rails is made 
to assume a meaning, and to shadow forth the gloom of the 
punishment — 

Imprisoned in black purgatorial rails. 

s " Flattered to tears." — This " flattered " is exquisite. A true 
poet is by nature a metaphysician ; far greater in general than 
metaphysicians professed. He feels instinctively what the others 
get at by long searching. In this word " flattered " is ihe whole 
theory of the secret of tears ; which are the tributes, more or 
less worthy, of self-pity to self-love. Whenever we shed tears, 
we take pity on ourselves ; and we feel, if we do not consciously 
say so, that we deserve to have the pity taken. In many cases, 
the pity is just, and the self-love not to be construed unhand- 
somely. In many others it is the reverse ; and this is the reason 
why selfish people are so often found among the tear-shedders, 
and why they seem never to shed them for others. They ima- 
gine themselves in the situation of others, as indeed the most 
generous must, before they can sympathize ; but the generous 
console as well as weep. Selfish tears are niggardly of every, 
thing but themselves. 

" Flattered to tears." Yes, the poor old man was moved, by 
the sweet music, to think that so sweet a thins; was intended for 
his comfort, as well as for others. He felt that the mysterious 
kindness of Heaven did not omit even his poor, old, sorry case, 
in its numerous workings and visitations ; and, as he wished 
to live longer, he began to think that his wish was to be attended 
to. He had begun to think how much he had suffered — how 
much he had suffered wrongly and mysteriously — and how 
much better a man he was, with all his sins, than fate seemed 
to have taken him for. Hence he found himself deserving of 
tears and self-pity, and he shed them, and felt soothed by his 
poor, old, loving self. Not undeservedly either ; for he was 
a painstaking pilgrim, aged, patient, and humble, and willingly 
suffered cold and toil for the sake of something better than he 



246 KEATS. 



could otherwise deserve ; and so the pity is not exclusively on 
his own side : we pity him, too, and would fain see him out of 
that cold chapel, gathered into a warmer place than the grave. 
But it was not to be. We must therefore console ourselves in 
knowing, that this icy endurance of his was the last, and that he 
soon found himself at the sunny gate of heaven. 

6 " A little moonlight room." — The poet does not make his " little 
moonlight room" comfortable, observe. The high taste of the 
exordium is kept up. All is still wintry. There is to be no com- 
fort in the poem, but what is given by love. All else may be left 
to the cold walls. 

7 " Tears." — He almost shed tears of sympathy, to think how 
his treasure is exposed to the cold ; and of delight and pride, 
to think of her sleeping beauty, and her love for himself. 
This passage, " asleep in lap of legends old," is in the high- 
est imaginative taste, fusing together the imaginative and the 
spiritual, the remote and the near. Madeline is asleep in her 
bed ; but she is also asleep in accordance with the legends of the 
season : and therefore the bed becomes their lap as well as sleep's. 
The poet does not critically think of all this ; he feels it : and 
thus should other young poets draw upon the prominent points of 
their feelings upon a subject, sucking the essence out of them 
into analogous words, instead of beating about the bush for 
thoughts, and, perhaps, getting clever ones, but not thoroughly 
pertinent, not wanted, not the best. Such, at least, is the diffe- 
rence between the truest poetry and the degrees beneath it. 

8 Si?ice Merlin paid his demon all the monstrous debt. 

What he means by Merlin's "monstrous debt," I cannot say. 
Merlin, the famous enchanter, obtained King Arthur his inte;- 
view with the fair logerne ; but though the son of a devil, and 
conversant with the race, I am aware of no debt that he owed 
them. Did Keats suppose that he had sold himself, like " Faus- 
tus?" 

9 Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died. 
This is a verse in .he taste of Chaucer, full of minute grace and 



KEATS. 247 



truth. The smoke of the wax-taper seems almost as ethereal and 
fair as the moonlight, and both suit each other and the heroine. 
But what a lovely line is the seventh about the heart, 

Paining with eloquence her balmy side ! 

And the nightingale ! how touching the simile ! the heart a 
" tongueless nightingale," dying in the bed of the bosom. 
What thorough sweetness, and perfection of lovely imagery ! 
How one delicacy is heaped upon another ! But for a burst of 
richness, noiseless, colored, suddenly enriching the moonlight, 
as if a door of heaven were opened, read the stanza that fol- 
lows. 

10 A shielded scutcheon blusK d with blood of queens and kings. 

Could all the pomp and graces of aristocracy, with Titian's 
and Raphael's aid to boot, go beyond the rich religion of this 
picture, with its " twilight saints," and its scutcheons, " blushing 
with the blood of queens ?" 

"" Save wings for heaven."— The lovely and innocent creature, 
thus praying under the gorgeous painted window, completes the 
exceeding and unique beauty of this picture, — one that will for 
ever stand by itself in poetry, as an addition to the stock. It 
would have struck a glow on the face of Shakspeare himself. 
He might have put Imogen or Ophelia under such a shrine. 
How proper as well as pretty the heraldic term gules, consider- 
ing the occasion. " Red" would not have been a fiftieth part 
as good. And with what elegant luxury he touches the " silver 
cross" with " amethyst," and the fair human hand with " rose- 
color," the kin of their carnation ! The lover's growing " faint" 
is one of the few inequalities which are to be found in the latter 
productions of this great but young and over-sensitive poet. He 
had, at the time of his writing this, the seeds of a mortal illness 
in him, and he doubtless wrote as he had felt, for he was also 
deeply in love ; and extreme sensibility struggled in him with 
a great understanding. 

 2 " Unclasps her warmed jewels." — How true and cordial the 
warmed jewels, and what matter of fact also, made elegant, in 



24S KEATS. 

the rustling downward of the attire ; and the mixture of dress 
and undress, and of the dishevelled hair, likened to a " mermaid 
in sea-weed !" But the next stanza is perhaps the most ex- 
quisite in the poem." 

" " As though a rose had shut." — Can the beautiful go beyond 

this ? I never saw it. And how the imagery rises ! flown like 
a thought — blissfully haven? d — clasp'd like a missal in a land of 
Pagans : that is to say, where Christian prayer-books must not 
be seen, and are, therefore, doubly cherished for the danger. 
And then, although nothing can surpass the preciousness of this 
idea, is the idea of the beautiful, crowning all — 

Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain, 
As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again. 

Thus it is that poetry, in its intense sympathy with creation, 
may be said to create anew, rendering its words more impres- 
sive than the objects they speak of, and individually more last- 
ing ; the spiritual perpetuity putting them on a level (not to 
speak it profanely) with the fugitive compound. 

14 " Lucent syrups tinct with cinnamon." — Here is delicate modu- 
lation, and super-refined epicurean nicety ! 

Lucent syrups tinct with cinnamon ; 

make us read the line delicately, and at the tip-end, as it were, 

of one's tongue. 

15 " Beyond a mortal man." — Madeline is half awake, and Por- 

phyro reassures her, with loving, kind looks, and an affectionate 

embrace. 

16 " Heart-shaped and vermeil-dyed." — With what a pretty wilful 

conceit the costume of the poem is kept up in this line about the 
shield ! The poet knew when to introduce apparent trifles for- 
bidden to those who are void of real passion, and who, feeling 
nothing intensely, can intensify nothing. 

17 " Carpets rose." — This is a slip of the memory, for there were 
hardly carpets in those days. But the truth of the painting 
makes amends, as in the unchronological pictures of old masters. 



KEATS. 249 



LONELY SOUNDS. 

Undescribed sounds 
That come a-swooning over hollow grounds, 
And wither drearily on barren moors. 



^wwwvv-'^^^ 



ORION. 



At this, with madden'd stare, 
And lifted hands, and trembling lips he stood, 
Like old Deucalion mountain'd o'er the flood, 
Or blind Orion hungry for the morn. 



-''N'V^'l/ W Wl^^^^^ 



CIRCE AND HER VICTIMS. 

Fierce, wan, 
And tyrannizing was the lady's look, 
As over them a gnarled staff she shook. 
Ofttimes upon the sudden she laugh' d out, 
And from a basket emptied to the rout 
Clusters of grapes, the which they raven'd quick 
And roar'd for more, with many a hungry lick 
About their shaggy jaws. Avenging, slow, 
Anon she took a branch of misletoe, 
And emptied on 't a black dull-gurgling phial : 
Groan' d one and all, as if some piercing trial 
Were sharpening for their pitiable bones. 
She lifted up the charm : appealing groans 
From their poor breasts went suing to her ear 
In vain : remorseless as an infanfs bier, 
She whisk'd against their eyes the sooty oil ; 
Whereat was heard a noise of painful toil, 
Increasing gradual to a tempest rage, 
Shrieks, yells, and groans, of torture pilgrimage. 



250 KEATS. 



A BETTER ENCHANTRESS IMPRISONED IN THE SHAPE 

OF A SERPENT. 

She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, 

Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue, 

Striped like a zebra, speckled like a pard, 

Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson-barf d, 

And full of silver moons, that as she breath' d 

Dissolv'd or brighter shone, or interwreath'd 

Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries. 

So, rainbow-sided, full of miseries, 

See seem'd, at once, some penanc'd lady elf, 

Some demon's mistress, or the demon's self. 

Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire 

Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar ; 

Her head was serpent; but ah, bitter sweet! 

She had a woman's mouth, with all its pearls complete 



SATURN DETHRONED. 

Deep in the shady sadness of a vale, 

Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, 

Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star, 

Sat grey-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone, 

Still as the silence round about his lair; 

Forest on forest hung about his head, 

Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there, 

Not so much life as on a summer's day 

Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass, 

But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest. 

A stream went voiceless by, still deaden'd more 

By reason of his fallen divinity 

Spreading a shade : the Naiad, 'mid her reeds, 

Press'd her cold finger closer to her lips. 

Along the margin sand large footmarks went, 

Nor further than to where his feet had stray'd, 

And slept there since. Upon the sodden ground 

His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead, 

Unsceptred ; and his realmless eyes were closed. 



KEATS. • 251 



THE VOICE OF A MELANCHOLY GODDESS SPEAKING 

TO SATURN. 

As when upon a tranced summer-night 
Those green-robed senators of mighty woods, 
Tall oaks, branch- charmed by the earnest stars, 
Dream, and so dream, all night without a stir, 
Save from one gradual solitary gust, 
Which comes upon the silence, and dies off, 
As if the ebbing air had but one wave : 
So came these words, and went. 



A FALLEN GOD. 

The bright Titan, frenzied with new woes, 

Unus'd to bend, by hard compulsion, bent 

His spirit to the sorrow of the time ; 

And all along a dismal rack of clouds, 

Upon the boundaries of day and night, 

He stretch' d himself, in grief and radiance faint. 



OTHER TITANS FALLEN. 

Scarce images of life, one here, one there, 
Lay vast and edgeways ; like a dismal cirque 
Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor, 
When the chill rain begins at shut of eve 
In dull JVovember, and their chancel vault, 
The heaven itself, is blinded throughout night 



252 KEATS. 



ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.* 

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk. 
'T is not through envy of thy happy lot, 
But being too happy in thy happiness, 

That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beeches green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 

for a draught of vintage, that hath been 

Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, 
Tasting of Flora and the country-green, 

Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth ! 
O for a beaker full of the warm South, 
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 
And purple-stained mouth ; 
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 
And with thee fade away into the forest dim : 

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget 

What thou among the leaves hast never known, 
The weariness, the fever, and the fret 

Here, where men sit, and hear each other groan ; 
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs ; 

Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies , 
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow 
And leaden-eyed despairs ; 
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, 
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 

Away ! away ! for I will fly to thee, 

Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, 

But on the viewless wings of Poesy, 

Though the dull brain perplexes and retards ; 

Already with thee ! tender is the night, 

And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, 
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays ; 



KEATS. 253 



But here there is no light, 
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown 
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 

/ cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 

JVorwhat soft incense hangs vpon the boughs, 
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet 

Wherewith the seasonable month endows 
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ; 
White-hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine ; 
Fast-fading violets, cover'd up in leaves ; 
And mid-May's eldest child, 
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 

The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. 

Darkling I listen ; and, for many a time, 

I have been half in love with easeful Death, 
CalVd him soft names in many a mused rhyme 

To take into the air my quiet breath ; 
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 
To cease upon the midnight with no pain, 
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad 
In such an ecstacy ! 
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain — 
To thy high requiem become a sod. 

Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird.' 

J\ r o hungry generations tread thee down : 
The voice I hear this passing night was heard 

In ancient days by emperor and clown ; 
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 

Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, 
She stood in tears amid the alien corn; 
The same that ofttimes hath 
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 19 

Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell 

To toll me back from thee to my sole self ! 
Adieu ! the fancy cannot cheat so well 

As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf. 
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 

Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 
Up the hill side ; and now 'tis buried deep 
In the next valley-glades ? 
Was it a vision, or a waking-dream ! 

Fled is that music ? Do I wake or sleep ? 



254 KEATS. 

18 " Ode to a Nightingale.'" — This poem was written in a house 
at the foot of Highgate Hill, on the border of the fields looking 
towards Hampstead. The poet had then his mortal illness upon 
him, and knew it. Never was the voice of death sweeter. 

19 " Charm 'd magic casements," &c — This beats Claude's En- 
chanted Castle, and the story of King Beder in the Arabian 
Nights. You do not know what the house is, or where, nor who 
♦he bird. Perhaps a king himself. But you see the window, 
open on the perilous sea, and hear the voice from out the trees 
in which it is nested, sending its warble over the foam. The 
whole is at once vague and particular, full of mysterious life. 
You see nobody, though something is heard ; and you know not 
what of beauty or wickedness is to come over that sea. Perhaps 
it was suggested by some fairy tale. I remember nothing of it 
in the drearn-like wildness of things in Palmerin of England, a 
book which is full of color and home landscapes, ending with a 
noble and affecting scene of war ; and of which Keats was very 
fond. 



ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER. 

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, 

And many goodly states and kingdoms seen ; 

Round many western islands have I been, 
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold 
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told, 

That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne ; 

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene, 
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold : 
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, 
When a new planet swims into his ken ; 
Or like stout Cortex, when with eagle eyes 

He star'd at the Pacific 20 — and all his men 
Looked at each other with a wild surmise — 

Silent, upon a peak in Darien. 21 

80 " He stared at the Pacific," &c. — « Stared " has been thought 
by some too violent, but it is precisely the word required by the 



KEATS. 255 



occasion. The Spaniard was too original and ardent a man 
either to look, or to affect to look, coldly superior to it. His 
" eagle eyes " are. from life, as may be seen by Titian's por- 
trait of him. 

The public are indebted to Mr. Charles Knight for a cheap 
reprint of Homer and Chapman. 

21 " Silent, upon apeak in Darien." — A most fit line to conclude 
our volume. We leave the reader standing upon it, with all the 
illimitable world of thought and feeling before him, to which his 
imagination will have been brought, while journeying through 
these " realms of gold." 



THE END. 



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Prof .3. Gray, \ Mrs. Jameson, 

Mrs E Oaltes Smith, ] Charles Lamb, 

Mrs. C. M. Kirkland, Elliot Warburton 

The following new works are now ready, or will be published this season ; 

L 

Sophisms of the Protective Policy, 

Translated from the French of F. Bastiat. With an introduction by Francis Lieber, LL.I> 
Prolessor in South Carolina College, Editor of the Encyclopaedia Americana, &.C. 12iho. 

II. 

Grecian and Roman Mythology: 

With original illustrations. Adapted for the use of Universities and High Schools, and for 
popular reading. IJy M A. Dwight. With an introduction by Tayler Lewis, Professor of 
Greek, University ol JN'ew York. !2iuo. (')n 1st September) 

Also :• fine edition in octavo, with illustrations. 

*„* This work has lieen prepared with great care, illustrated with 20 effective outline^ 
drawings, and is designed to treat the subjict in an original, comprehensive, and unex- 
ceptionable tn inner, so as to fi.l the place as a text book which is yet unsupplied ; while 
rtwiHalsobe an attractive and readable table book for general use It will be at once 
introduced as a text book in the University of New York and other colleges and schools. 

III. 

Eureka: a Prose Poem. 

Or the Physical and Metaphysical Universe. 
By Edgar A. Poe, Esq. Handsomely printed. 12mo. Cloth 



— G. P. Putnam, 155 Broadway, New York. 3 

IV. 

$!)£ Sook of Paintrj Ulnnces. 

***This new and unique volume, superbly illuminated by M.plesnn, nnd comprising 
original articles by di tinguished writers, will lie the most elegant and recherche book of 
the kind ever produced in this country. It will he readv in October 

A new and superior edit;on of the PEAKLS OF AMERICAN POETRY will also be 
published this season. 

V. 

Oriental Life Illustrated. 

Being a new edition of Eothen, or Traces of Travel in the East. With fine illustrations 

on Steel. 

VI. 

Dr. Klipstein's Anglo-Saxon Course 

of Study. 

In uniform 12mo. volumes, 
i. 

A Grammar of the Anglo-Saxon Language. By Louis F. Klipstein, AA. LL.M. and 
PH.D.. of the University ot Giessen. 

* =fc *Thi< work recommends itself particularly to the attention of every American 
student who "glories in his A glo-Saxon descent"' or Teutonic lineage, as well as of all 
who desire an acquaintance with a 1 ingu 'ge which lies as the found ition of the English, 
and throws a light upon its i.le nents and structure, derivable from no other source Of 
the imp iriance and interesting n aure of the study there can be no doubt, and we agree 
with those who think th it the time is coming when it will be considered " utterly disgrace- 
ful for any well bred Rnglishm in or Americ n " to have neglected it. With regard to the 
merits of Dr. Klipstein's Grimm ir, we will only say. Ihi* it has been already adopted as 
a text-book in some of the leading Institutions of our country. 

[The following are also in press.] 
it. 
Analecta Anslo Saxnnica, with an Introductory Ethnographical Essay, Copious Notes, Cri- 
tical and Explanatory, and a Glossary m which are shown the Indo-Geruianic and other 
Affinities of tne Language. By the same. 

In this work appear the fruits of considerable research, and, we may add, learning. 
The Ethnology of Europe is sut-ciucll , but • leirly illustrated, the Anglo-Saxon language 
completely a uilysed. revealing the ntmo t harmony of combination from its elements, its 
forms and root- compared with those i i kindred di ilects and cognate tongues its po ition 
in the Ten ionic f unity and [ndo-Germanic range established, and thegei.ui «e relation of the 
English toils great pirent properly set forth To those who are fond of the comparative 
study of language, the Glossary will prove an invaluable aid, aput from its particular 
object. 

in. 
Natale Sancti Gregorii Papa? — A5lfric's Homily on th? Birth-day of St. Gregory, and Col- 
lateral Extr cis from King Alfred's ver-ion of Ride's Ecclesiastical History and ihe 
Saxon Chronicle, with a full rendering into English, Notes Critical and Explanatory, 
and an Index of Words. By the same. 

IV. 

Extr ids from the Anglo Sixin-G ispels, a Portion of the Anglo-Saxon Paraphrase of the 
Book of Psalms, and other Sel ciions of a Sacred Order in the oime Lancuage, with a 
Translation into English, and Notes Critic il and Explanatory. By the same. 

These two works are prepared in such a way as in them -elves, with the aid of the 
Gramm ir to afford every facility to the Anglo Saxon Student. ^E trie'- Homily is remarka- 
ble for beauty of composition, and interesting as setting forth Augustine's Mission to the 
" Land of the Angles." 

v. 
Tha Hainan Cod-pel on Englisc — the Anglo-Snxon Version of the Holy Gospels. Edited 
by Benj i uiin Thorpe, P S. \ Reprinted by the same. Now ready 

This, the earliest • E glish " ver-i f the Four G spela will be found interesting to 

the niviqn ari in and tlr-ologi in, a- u  I as serviceable to the student in bis investigations 
of the language The Text, bps-des the usual but unbroken division, appears, wiih the 
Rubrics, as read in the early Anglican Church. 



New Works published by- 



VII. 

Study of Modern Languages. 

Part First; French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and English. 

By L. F. Klipstein, AA. LL.M. and Ph. D. One Vol. Imperial 8vo. 75 cents. 

This work, which is intended equally for the simultaneous and the separate study of the 
languages that it sets forth, and which is adapted as well for the native of Germany, 
France, Italy, Spain, or Portugal, as for him to whom English is vernacular, in the acquire- 
ment of any one of the other tongues besides his own, will be found an acceptable manual 
not only to the tyro, but to the more advanced scholar. The reading portion of the matter 
is interesting, and the text in every case remarkably correct, while the Elementary Phrases, 
forms -of Cards, Letters, Bills of Exchange, Promissory Notes, Receipts, &c, in the six 
languages, constitute what has long been a desideratum from the American press. For 
the comparative study of the Romanic tongues the work affords unusual facilities. 

VIII. 

Pedestrian Tour in Europe. 

Views a-Foot ; or Europe seen with Knapsack and Staff*. 

By J. Bayard Taylor. 

A new edition with an additional chapter, and a sketch of the author in pedestrian cos- 
tume, from a drawing by T. Buchanan Read. 12mo. Cloth. 

IX. 

The Third Edition of 

The Middle Kingdom. 

A SURVEY OF THE 

GEOGRAPHY, GOVERNMENT, EDUCATION, SOCIAL LIFE, ARTS, 

RELIGION, etc., 

Of the Chinese Empire 

AND ITS INHABITANTS. 

With a New Map of the Kmpirc, and Illustrations, principally engraved by J. TV. Orr. 
BY S. WELLS* WILLIAMS. 

Two Vols. Svo. Half morocco, gilt tops, $3. JVow ready. 

" What personal observation did not supply has been industriously and ably supplied 
from other sources. This will probably take the place of the previous accounts of the 
Chinese Empire, as more full and accurate than they." — Evening Post. 

" We are very greatly mistaken, or the circulation of these volumes will raise very 
Tmuch the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom in the respect of our countrymen." — JV. Y. 
Recorder. 

"We do not think the man is living who is better qualified than Mr. Williams to make 
a book on China, and he has produced a work which will be of standard authority as refer- 
ence." — JV*. Y. Observer. 

" The work before us is full of the information required, interspersed with numerous 
amusing sketches of the peculiar manners of this people. No one was more qualified to 
write a book of this sort than the author ; and all who read it will be highly interested, 
and will learn more of the Celestials from it, than he can anywhere else." — Christian 
Advocate <$- Journal. 

X. 

A New Edition of 

Clarke's Shakspeare Concordance. 

A Complete Concordance to Shakspeare : being a Verbal Index to ALL the PASSAGES 
in the Dramatic Works of the Poet. By Mrs. Cowden Clarke. 

" Order gave each thing view." 

One large Vol comprising 2560 closely printed columns, — (indicating every word and 
passage in Shakspeare's Works). Price $6. Cloth. 

"The result of sixteen years of untiring labor. The different editions of Shakspeare 
have been carefully collated by the compiler, and every possible means taken to insure 
the correctness of the work. As it now stands, a person can find a particular passage in 
Shakspeare by simply remembering one word of it, and is also referred to the act and scene 



— G. P. Putnam, 155 Broadway, New York. 5 

of the play in which it occurs. As a mere dictionary of Shakspearian language and 
phrases, it is of great value ; hut it is also a dictionary of his thouuhts and imaginations. 
It altogether supersedes the volumes of Twiss and Ayscough, and should be on every 
student's shelves " — Boston Courier. 

*+* This extraordinary work is printed in London and the price there at present is 
j£2 5s. Od. or about $12 A large part of the edition having been purchased for this market, 
it is furnished here for the very low price of $6, bound in cloth. 

Also — By same Author. 

The Book of Shakspeare Proverbs. 

18mo. 75 cts. 



Dr. Lieber' s Poetical Address to the American Republic. 
In a few days in a neat volume, 

The West: 

A Metrical Epistle. 
By Francis Lieber. 

%* Dr. Lieber, the distinguished Professor of Political Economy in South Carolina Col- 
lege, Author of •'Political Ethics," &c. has just sailed for his native country— Germany— 
with the view of aiding in the great cause of Constitutional and Rational Freedom. This 
iitlle volume proves that he has well studied that subject during his long residence in this 
his adopted country— and his able and valuahleopiiuonson American Society and Progress, 
carry with them a peculiar interest at this time. 

NEW AND IMPROVED EDITIONS 

Of the following works are now ready or will shortly be published. 
Downing's Landscape Gardening and Rural Architecture 3d edition, revised. 
I) owning' s Fruit and Fruit Trees of America. The second illustrated edition. With. 

70 plates, carefully and accurately colored. Royal 8vo. 
Downing' s Cottage Residences. Illustrated new edition. 1 vol. 8vo. (Now ready.) 
Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield. Very neatly printed. ") 
The same, with illustrations designed by Mulready. Ele- I 

gantly bound, gilt edges. 
Lamb's Essays of Elia. i 

Warburtons Crescent and the Cross; or Romance and Realities 

of Eastern Travel. 
Ford's Spaniards and their Country. *** Washington Irving, ^ bound in green cloth 

warmly commends this book. I new style and at lower 

Eothen. (" The best hook of Eastern travel.") j Price. 

Leigh Hunt's Imagination and Fancy. 
Leigh Hunt's Italian Poets. 
Fouque's Undine and Sintram. 

Peacock's Headlong Hall, and Nightmare Abbey. J 

MRS. JAMESON'S CHARACTERISTICS OF fVOMEN—Morn\, Poetical, and 

Historical. Illustrated with J2 beautiful Engravings of Sbakspeare's Female 

Characters, engraved by Heath and others. A new and improved edition. Elegantly 

bound Saxony gilt, royal octavo. 

THE HEROINES OF SHAKSPEARE. Comprising 45 highly finished Engravings, 
from drawings by the best artists, illustrating the female characters in the works of 
the great poet. Royal 8vo. Elegantly bound. A few copies exquisitely colored. 
N. B. These beautiful volumes, attractive and valuable at all seasons, will be ready in 

a new stvle for the autumn season. 



Each complete in one 
volume, very neatly 



6 Recent Publications — 

RECENT PUBLICATIONS. 

Alexander. — Commentary on the Earlier Prophecies of Isaiah. 

By Prof. J. A. Alexander. Royal 8vo. cloth, $3. 

Alexander. — Commentary on the Later Prophecies of Isaiah. 

By Prof. J. A. Alexander. Royal 8vo. cloth, $2 50. 

Ancient Moral Tales, from the Gesta Romanorum, &c. I 

vol. 12mo. green cloth. 

" A quiet humor, \ quaintness and terseness of style, will strongly recommend them." 
— English Churchman. 

Architecture. — Hints on Public Architecture ; issued under the 

Direction of" the "Smithsonian Institution," Imperial 4to. with Illustrations. (In 
preparation.) 

This work will contain numerous and valuable illustrations, intruding two perspective 
views of the buildings of the Smilhsoni m Institution. The Appendix will contain the 
results of a research under the auspices of the Institution to test the properties of the 
most important building materials throughout the United States. 

Bartlett. — An Elementary Treatise on Optics. By W. H. C. 

Bartlett, A.M., Professor at West Point. 8vo. cloth, $2. 

Bastiat. — Sophisms of the Protective Policy. Translated from 

the French of F Bastiat. With an Introduction, by Francis Lieber, LED., Professor 
in South Carolina College, Editor of the Encyclopaedia Americana, &c , &c. 12mo. 

Bibliotheca Sacra and Theological Review. Conducted by 

B.B.Edwards and E. A. Park, Professors at Andover, with the Special Aid of Dr. 
Robinson and Professor Stuart. Published quarterly in February, May, August, and 
Novemoer $4 per annum. Vols. 1, 2, 3, and 4, 8vo. cloth, each $4. 

"This is, perhaps, the most ambitious journal in the United States. We use theword 
in a good sense, as meaning that there is no journal among its which seems more laud- 
ably desirous to take the lead in literary and theological science. Its handsome type 
ami piper give it a pleading exterior; its typographical errors, though sufficiently nu- 
merous, are so comparatively few, as to show that it has the advantage of the best 
American proof-reading; while for thoroughness of execution in the departments of 
history and criticism, it aims to be pre-eminent." — JV. Y. Churchman. 

Bull. — Hints to Mothers for the Management of Health during 

Pregnancy. By Thomas Bull, M.D. 5th edition, 12mo. cloth, 51) cents. 

Burton. — The Anatomy of Melancholy. By Burton. New and 

beautiful edition, with Engravings. 1 vol. royal 8vo. cloth, $2 51). 

*** This is one of those sterling old works which were written for " all time," full of 
learning, humor, and quaint conceits. No library can be complete without it. 

Calvert. — Scenes and Thoughts in Europe. By an American. 

1 vol. 12mo. green cloth. 

" His descriptions of scenery, his remarks on art, his accounts of the different people 
among whom he sojourned, are all good." — Cincinnati Oazette. 

Carlyle. — The French Revolution : a History. By Thomas 

Carlyle. 2 vols. 12mo. green cloth, $2. 

" His French Revolution is considered one of the most remarkable works of the age — 
as at once the poetry and philosophy of history." — Hunt's Merchants' Mag. 

Carlyle. — Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell. By Thos. 

Carlyle. 2 vols. 12mo. green cloth, $2 50. 

" A work more valuable as a guide to the study of the singular and complex character 
of our pious revolutionist, our religious demagogue, our preaching, and praying warrior, 
has not been produced." — Blackwood's Magazine. 



— G. P. Putnam, 155 Broadway. 



Garlyle. — Past and Present : Chartism. By Thomas Carlyle. 

1 voi. 12mo. green cloth, $1 • 

" To say that the hook is replete with instruction, thought, anil quaint fancy, is unne- 
cessary, but we may mention it as one, jiar ex.cellen.ee, which should be read at the 
present juncture." — Tribune. 

Chaucer and Spenser. — Selections from the Poatical Works of 

Geoffrey Chaucer. By Charles D. Deshler. Spenser, and the Faery Queen. By Mrs. 
C. M. Kirkland. 1 vol. l2mo. 

The same, extra gilt. 

"A portion of their writings are presented in a beautiful and convenient form, and 
with the requisite notes and modifications."— Home Juurnal. 

Church. — Elements of the Differential and Integral Calculus. 

By E. A. Church, Professor in the United States Military Academy. 8vo. $1 50. 

Coe. — Studies in Drawing, in a progressive Series of Lessons on 

Cards; beginning with the most Elemen'ary Studies, and Adapted for Use at Home 
and Schools. By Benjamin H. Coe, Teacher of Drawing. In Ten Series — marked 1 and 
10 — each containing about eighteen Studies. 25 cents each. 

The design is: 
I. — To mike the exercises in drawing highly interesting to the pupil. 
II. — To make drawings so simple, and so gradually progres-ive, as to enable any teachei, 

whether acquainted with drawing or not, to instruct his pupils to advantage. 
III. — To take the place of one-half of the writing lessons, with confidence that the learner 

will acquire a knowledge of writing in less thin time is usually required. 
IV. — To give the pupils a bold, rapid, and artist-like style of drawing 

Coleridge. — Biographia Literaria ; or, Biographical Sketches of 

my Literary Life and Opinions. By Samuel Taylor Coleridge. From the 2d London 
edition, Edited by H. N. Coleridge. 2 vols. 12tno. green cloth. 

Cortez. — Letters and Despatches of Hernando Cortez. Trans- 
lated by Hon. George FoHotn. 1 vol. 8vo. $1 25. 

Coleridge and Southey. — Reminiscences of Samuel Taylor 

* Coleridge and Robert Southey ; with their Letters, &.c. By Joseph Cottle. 1 vol. 12mo. 
cloth. 

"Their reminiscences, put forth by -a long and familiar Friend, c "inot be read withonl 
benefiting both the heart and the understanding.'' — Jlnglo-JImericon. 

Croton Aqueduct. — History, Description, and Illustration of the 

Croton Aqueduct. By F. B. Tower 25 engravings, royal 4lo. cloth, $3 50. 

Dana. — A System of Mineralogy, comprising the most Recent 

Discoveries. By .lames D. Dana. Woodcuts and copperplates, 8vo. cloth, $3 50. 

De Hart. — Observations on Military Law, and the Constitution 

and Practice of Courts Martial ; with a Summary of the Law of Evidence. By William 
C. De Hart. 8vo. law sheep, $3. 

Downing. — Cottage Residences ; or, a Series of Designs for 

Rural Cottages and Cottage Villas, and their Gardens and Grounds ; adapted to North 
America. By A. J. Downing. Numerous plates, 3d edition, 8vo. cloth, $2. 

Downing. — A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape 

Gardening adapted to North America ; with Remarks on Rural Architecture. By A. J. 
Downing. Plates, 2d edition, thick 8vo cloth, $3 50. 

Downing. — The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America ; or, the 

Culture, Propagation, and Management, in the Garden and Orchard, of Fruit Trees 
generally. Ily A. J. Downing. Plates, 9th edition, revised, 12mo. cloth, SI 50. 

The same, 8vn. cloth, $2 50. 

The same, with 80 superb Illustrations, drawn and beautifully colored by Pari! 

Artists, royal 8vo. half morocco, top edge gilt. New edition shortly. 



8 Recent Publications — 

Duer. — The Life of William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, Major- 

Genernl in the Army of the United States* during the Revolution ; with Extracts from 
his Correspondence. By his Grandson, William A. Duer, LL.D. 8vo. cloth, $1 50. 

" It consists mainly of letters or extracts written "by or to the illustrious Subject, whose 
life ought long since to have been thus commemorated. As yet, little honor has been 
done to his memory, but this injustice, we trust, is near its termination. Honor to the 
memory of a faithful and self-denying Patriot." — Tribune. 

Dwight. — Grecian and Roman Mythology ; with original Illus- 
trations. Adapted for the Use of Universities and High Schools, and for Popular Read- 
ing. By M. A. Dwight. With an Introduction by Tayler Lewis, Professor of Greek, 
University of New York. 12mo. [In September. 
Also a fine edition in octavo, with Illustrations. 

*** This work has been prepared with great care, illustrated with twenty effective 
outline drawings, and is designed to treat the subject in an original, comprehensive, and 
unexceptionable manlier, so as to fill the p|ace as a text-book which is yet unsupplied ; 
while it will also be an attractive and readable table-book for general use. It will be at 
once introduced as a text-book in the University of New York, and other colleges and 
schools. 

Ford. — The Spaniards and their Country. By Richard Ford. 

1 vol. 12mo. green cloth. 

"The best description of national character and manners of Spain that has ever 
appeared." — Quarterly Review. 

"The volumes aopear to treat of almost everything save the graver questions of reli- 
gion and politics, which may possibly be taken up hereafter. In one respect it has the 
advantage over more directly historical works — it portrays the Spanish character, as well 
as country, with fidelity." — Commercial Advertiser. 

Fouque. — Undine, a Tale ; and Sintram and his Companions, a 

Tale. From the German of La Motte Fouqu6. 1 vol. J2mo. green cloth. 

'• The style and execution of this delightful romance are very graceful." — Hawkins's 
Germany. 

"Fouque's romances I always recommend— especially the wild, graceful, and touching 
Undine." — Sarah Austin 

French. — Historical Collections of Louisiana. By B. F. French. 

8vo. cloth, $1 50. 

Goldsmith.— The Vicar of Wakefield. By Oliver Goldsmith. 

1 vol. 12mo. neatly printed, cloth, 50 cents. 

The same, with Illustrated Designs by Mulready, elegantly bound, gilt edges, 75 

cents. 

Gray. — Botanical Text-Book. By Prof. Asa Gray. Many 

hundred cuts, 2d edition, large 12mo. cloth, $1 75. 

Green. — A Treatise on Diseases of the Air Passages ; compris- 
ing an Inquiry intothe History, Pathology, Causes, and Treatment of those Affections of 
the Throat called Bronchitis, &c. By Horace Green, M.D. Colored plites, 8vo. cloth. 
$2 50. 
' A new and eminently successful treatment of lung complaints." 

Hackley. — Elements of Trigonometry, Plane and Spherical. 

By Rev. C. W. Hackley, Professor of Mathematics, Columbia College, New York. 8vo. 
cloth, $1 25. 

Hamilton Papers. — The Official Papers of the late Major-General 

Alexander Hamilton. Compiled from the Originals in the Possession of Mrs. Hamilton. 
1 vol. 8vo. cloth, $2 50. 



— G. P. Putnam, 155 Broadway. 9 

Hahn's Hebrew Bible. — New and complete stereotype edition, 

being afac-simile of the Leipsic edition. In 1 vol. 8vo. In press. 

Hart. — Essay on Spenser and the Faery Queen. By John S. Hart. 

8vo. cloth, S3. 
The same, half morocco, gilt top, $3 75. 

Hazlitt's (William) MiscellaneousWorks. 4 vols. l2mo. cloth, $5. 
Hazlitt's Life of Napoleon. 3 vols. l2mo. cloth. 
Spirit of the Age. 12mo., 50 cents. 

Table Talk, both series, in 2 vols, cloth, $2 25. 

Characters of Shakspeare, 50 cts. 

Literature of the Age of Queen Elizabeth, 50 cts. 

English Comic Writers, 50 cts. 

Lectures on English Poets, 50 cts. 

Head. — Bubbles from the Brunnen. By Sir Francis Head. 

I2mo. green cloth. 

" At once an instructive and amusing book. It contains a great deal of information."— 
London Times. 

Heroines of Shakspeare. — A Series of 45 beautiful illustrations, 

engraved by Charles Heath, with letter press from Shakspeare's text. Royal 8vo. 

Saxony, gilt extra, $9. 

The same, morocco extra, $12. 

The same, exquisitely colored, morocco extra, $20. New edition shortly. 

Hervey. — The Book of Christmas ; descriptive of the Customs, 

Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling, and Festivities of the Christmas 
Season. By Thomas K. Hervey. 12mo. green cloth. 

The same, gilt extra. 

" Every leaf of this book affords a feast worthy of the season." — Dr. Hawks' 's Church 
Record. 

Hood. — Prose and Verse. By Thomas Hood. 12mo. green 

cloth. 

The same, gilt extra. 

" A very judicious selection, designed to embrace Hood's more earnest writings, those 
which were written most directly from the heart, which reflect most faithfully his life 
and opinions." — Broadway Journal. 

Howitt. — Ballads and other Poems. By Mary Howitt. 1 vol. 

12mo. green cloth. 
The s:ime, with fine Portrait, gilt extra. 

" Her poems are always graceful and beautiful." — Mrs. S. C. Hall. 

"We cannot commend too highly the present publication, and only hope that the 
reading public will relish ' Mary Howitt's Ballads and other Poems,' now for the first 
time put forth in a collected form." — Jilbion. 

Hunt. — Imagination and Fancy. By Leigh Hunt. - 1 vol. 

12mo. green cloth, 62 cents. 
The same, gilt extra, $1. 



Hunt. — Stories from the Italian Poets: being a Summary in 

Prose of the Poems of Dante, Pulci, Boiardo, Aristo, and Tasso ; with Comments through- 
out, occasional passages Versified, and Critical Notices of the Lives and Cenius of the 
Authors. By Leigh Hunt. 12mo. cloth. 

The same, fancy gilt. 

"Mr. Hunt's book has been aptly stylrd, a series of exquisite < ncravings of the mngni 
ficent pictures painted by these great Italian masters."— Journal of Commerce. 



10 Recent Publications — 

Irving. — Works of Washington Irving ; Revised and Enlarged 

by the Author. In twelve elegant duodecimo volumes, beautifully printed with new 
type, and on superior piper, made expressly for the purpose, and bound in cloth. 
As follows : — 



The Crayon .Miscellany, in one 
volume. Abbotsford, Newstead, 
The Prairies, &c. 

The Spanish Legends, in one vol. 

The Life and Voyages of Columbus, 
and The Companions of Colum- 
bus, in two volumes. 

Adventures of Capt. Bonneville, in 
one volume. 



The Sketch-Book, in one volume. 
Knickerbocker's 3Yew York, in one 

volume. 
Tales of a Traveller, in one vol. 
Bracebridge Hall, in one volume. 
The Conquest of Grenada, in one 

volume. 
The Alhambra, in one volume. 
Astoria, in one volume. 

(Now publishing.) 

Irving. — The Sketch-Book. By Washington Irving. Complete 

in one volume, 12mo. cloth. In September. , 

Irving. — The Illustrated Sketch-Book. By Washington Irving. 

In October will be published, The Sketch-Book, by Washington Irving, one vol. square 
octavo, Illustrated with a series of highly finished Engravings on Wood, from Designs 
by Darley and others, engraved in the best style by Childs, Herrick, &c. This 
edition will be printed on paper of the finest quality, similar in size and style to the new 
edition of " Halleck's Poems." It is intended that the illustrations shall be superior to 
any engravings on wood yet produced in this country, and that the mechanical execu- 
tion of the volume, altogether, shall be worthy of the author's reputation. It will form 
an elegant and appropriate gift book for all seasons. 

Irving. — Knickerbocker's History of New York. By Washing- 
ton Irving. With Revisions and copious Additions. Will be published on the 1st of 
October. 

Irving. — The Illustrated Knickerbocker; with a series of origi- 
nal Designs, in one volume, octavo, uniform with the " Sketch-Book," is also in prepa- 
ration. 

Irving. — The Life and Voyages of Columbus. By Washington 

Irving. Vol. I. on the 1st of November. 
The succeeding volumes will be issued on the first day of each month until completed. 

Jameson. — Characteristics of Women. By Mrs. Jameson. 

Illustrated with 12 elegant steel-plate engravings. 1 large vol. royal 8vo. richly gilt. 

'■ Mrs. Jameson's Characteristics of Women is certainly among the most attractive and 
charming volumes which the American press has produced this season. It is a royal 
8vo. volume, of from 301) to 400 pages, superbly bound in Saxony gilt extra, and contains 
the following twelve portraits, executed in the most finished style of the first artists, 
under the direction of Mr. Charles Heath, of London, viz: — Portia, Beatrice, Miranda, 
Jnl>et, Ophelia, Imogen, Viola, Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Rosalind, Perdita, Cordelia. 
These portraits illustrate the following class of Shakspeare's characters, as arranged by 
Mrs. Jameson :- - 

" J St. Characters of Intellect. 

"2d. Characters of Imajrination avd Fancy. 

" '3d. Characters of the .Affections. 

"4th. Historical Characters. 

"They are, in truth, admirable expositions of Shakspeare's matchless creations, and 
form, in the elegant edition of the American publishers, one of the most appropriate 
gifts that could be made." — Newark Daily Jldeertiser. 

Keats. — The Poetical Works of John Keats. 1 vol. 12mo. 

cloth. 

The same, gilt extra. 

" They are flushed all over with the rich lights of fancy ; and so colored and bestrewn 
with the fl iwers of poetry that, even while perplexed and bewildered in their labyrinths, 
it is impossible to resist the intoxication of their sweemess, or to shut our hearts to the 
enchantment they so lavishingly present " — Francis Jeffrey. 



— G. P. Putnam, 155 Broadway. 11 

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East. 12mo. green cloth. 

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